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UAAP: FEU-D bags 12th high school boys’ football title

by Bryan Gadingan

FAR Eastern University-Diliman (FEU-D) is undefeated in the UAAP Season 86 high school boys football tournament, thumping University of Santo Tomas (UST) 3-0 on Thursday at the UP Football Stadium.

Photo Courtesy: UAAP Media Group

The Baby Tamaraws won their 12th consecutive season title, defeating the Junior Golden Booters, who made their finals debut this year.

UST led the standings for most of the season but FEU-D had a strong run before finishing the elimination phase to reclaim the lead. Nevertheless, this had been UST’s greatest performance in the competition.

The Baby Tamaraws delivered their best performance in the most important game. Kian Niu broke the ice by scoring the opening point for the Baby Tams at the 18-minute mark. 

Theo Libarnes, the eventual Golden Boot winner, extended the Baby Tamaraws’ advantage eight minutes after the restart. This was his seventh goal of the season, and he also received the Best Striker award.

Photo Courtesy: UAAP Media Group

The icing on the cake came in the 78th minute, when replacement Jacob Keleghan, who also earned Rookie of the Year, scored FEU-D’s third goal.

Unang una po sa lahat na shocked nga po ako na nakuha ko po yung Golden Boot award dahil yung mga past few games ng first round wala akong mga score pero pag second round bumawi po ako,” he said.

Grabe yung struggle para makarating sa finals. Ngayon nakuha na namin kaya yung mga pangalan namin nasa history books na ng FEU ngayon. Ibinigay ko naman lahat binigay ko yung best sa mga teammates ko,” said the graduating players.

Gian Carlo Lucha, a senior Baby Tamaraws defender, was awarded tournament MVP. Proving that the team’s system is something to be proud of, considering their 12-season rule.

“It feels unreal kasi di ko ine-expect na mapapasa-akin ito. We’ve been struggling this season nagkaroon kami ng two defeats… two losses sa campaign namin noong elimination,” said Lucha.

Sinabihan ko sila na tatagan yung loob, trust God always and yun. Nagbunga yung sacrifices namin,” he said, explaining the inspiration for their performance.

UST’s Edsel James Lauron and Kent Laurenz dela Peña won Best Goalkeeper and Best Midfielder awards, respectively.  

Bacchus Ekberg, one of the key players in De La Salle-Zobel’s third-place finish, won Best Defender. Ateneo, on the other side, earned the Fair Play Award.

Despite coming up short in the results, coach Marjo Allado believes the Junior Golden Booters have a bright future after reaching the league’s highest level.

“Well, mixed feelings alam mo yun… masaya na nakalaro sa finals but at the end of the day natalo, siyempre medyo low morale yung players but as a coach you have to push them heads up lang. Tanggap naman ng mga players,” he explained.

Overall, it was a fantastic season for FEU-D as they worked their way back to the top and ensured that they would continue to dominate the Junior’s football tournament.

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