UAAP football to debut on live TV
MANILA, Philippines – College football is set to debut on live television as Season 76 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) kicks off on November 23 at the Far Eastern University (FEU)-Diliman pitch.
Studio 23 will air the 3 p.m. match between FEU, last season’s third-placer, and National University (NU), a first in Philippine college football that is inspired the continuing surge of the sport in the country.
A triple bill actually ushers in Season 76 football with the non-televised clashes between De La Salle and University of Santo Tomas at 10 a.m. and last season's runner-up University of the Philippines and University of the East at 1 p.m.
Defending champion Ateneo drew an opening-day bye and will face FEU at 3 p.m. on November 26.
Bannered by ace striker Jess Melliza, who drilled a league-record 22 goals last season, the Tamaraws are one of the Blue Eagles' biggest threats this season.
Ateneo is hard-pressed to retain the title with Season 75 Most Valuable Player and Best Goalkeeper Nick O’Donnell and midfielder Val Calvo out of the roster due to academics. The Blue Eagles will now count on veterans Yu Murayama, Mikko Mabanag, Jico Noel and Carlo Liay, last season's top rookie.
Still dangerous are the Fighting Maroons, who dominated in the last few years thanks to the brilliant efforts of national under-23 mainstay Jinggoy Valmayor.
The Green Archers and the Bulldogs are also expected to contend for the crown, while the Growling Tigers and the Red Warriors hope to spring surprises.
Also aired on Studio 23 are the UST-Ateneo match on November 29, UP-Ateneo clash on December 6, Ateneo-De La Salle duel on December 13 and De La Salle-FEU showdown on December 23.
Women's action opens on November 24 with Ateneo facing UST at 1 p.m. and De La Salle battling UP at 3 p.m. Titleholder FEU, which drew a bye, opens its season against Ateneo on November 27 at 1 p.m.