UAAP 73 Football Opening Weekend (16 January 2011)

Yesterday afternoon, my brother and I went to the good ole Alma Mater for my sister’s first UAAP football game. It was surreal seeing my youngest sibling man the goal at the Ateneo Ocampo Football Field, albeit wearing the maroon and white.

The first half went remarkably well for the State University. After all, the girls finished second behind perennial contenders DLSU during last October’s Unigames so they weren’t really pushovers, in light of their underdog status. During the first half, UP controlled most of the possessions. Much of the action was with UP’s offense. I must admit that it bored me seeing my sister just standing around at her own little box.

The UP booters, however, could not connect. The match remained scoreless after the first 45 minutes.

FEU came out with guns blazing at the second half. In a reversal of roles, much of the action was with the Morayta-based schools offense. For this football newbie, the ball-handling of FEU seemed more refined, more coordinated. Being ignorant of all aspects of football tactics, I take notice of the aesthetics (as well as the physicality) of the beautiful game.

There were some close shaves for FEU at the early part of the half, but the score remained nil-nil.  My sis made one spectacular, Neil Etheridge-esque save as she leaped high up to deflect the ball. However, a botched attempt by my sister to put a stop to a lone breakaway FEU striker proved futile. A splendidly executed corner kick saw another FEU player score, this time by a pinpoint header.

In other news, both the Ateneo Men’s and Women’s Teams succumbed to stronger opposition. The Lady Booters fell 0-3 to UST, whilst the Blue Booters (who once scored a rare three peat several years ago) fell 1-5 to a dominating performance by archrivals DLSU. According to Rick Olivares, this drubbing was the “worst loss to La Salle in over two decades.”

Read Rick Olivares’ account of the UAAP Football Opening

I only root for three collegiate football teams (yes, I must admit that I cheer for the green-clad Lady Booters too!); it sucks how these teams got bamboozled right at the season opener. Such is sport.

Being immersed in that exuberant collegiate atmosphere infused much needed enthusiasm into the flailing basketball season. It reiterated the fact that I am at my best on the track, not on the hard court. It was refreshing to watch a different sport other than basketball and athletics.

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