MANILA, Philippines -- Far Eastern University opened its bid for an 11th straight championship in style, dominating Ateneo de Manila University, 5-0, to open the UAAP Season 85 boys' football tournament, Sunday at the UP Diliman Football Field.
Rookie Nickos Mamon drew first blood for the Baby Tamaraws with a finish in the 32nd minute, before Bryan Villanueva found himself open for a 2-0 advantage at the end of the first half.
Mamon scored two more in the second half in the 50th and 58th minutes, turning in two good passes from captain Andre Yu and Kent Pilarca.
"To be honest, in all of the other matches, a lot of other players have been scoring also. It just so happened today, [Mamon] has been the beneficiary of a lot of the final passes. We didn't design it just to be that way. Everybody will get their opportunities; it just so happened he had those today," FEU head coach Vince Santos said.
Arvin Alayon provided the finishing touches to the rout in the 85th minute, as the Tamaraws scored at least a point for the tenth straight match going back to the UAAP Season 81 final against Nazareth School of National University.
"This is practically a new team. So, if they want to keep the tradition, they need to work harder," Santos said
De La Salle-Zobel joined the reigning champions on top with a 1-0 victory over University of Santo Tomas in the other match of the opening day.
The Junior Archers started aggressively on the attack and eventually drew a foul on UST inside the box in the 31st minute. Justin Concepcion calmly converted the spot kick to nail the marginal goal and the eventual win.
"The thing that got them, same with UST, is anxiety. So, you see all the chances in the world, but we had better chances actually. We had to change our conditioning and tactics in our training," De La Salle-Zobel head coach Hans Smit said.
"But I believe in these boys; they'll play better next game for sure," the legendary mentor guaranteed.
The Baby Tamaraws will shoot for the top of the table when they take on the Junior Golden Booters on Sunday at 4 p.m., while rivals Junior Archers and the Blue Eagles lock arms later in the day at 6 p.m.
UAAP Season 85 is streaming on iWantTFC every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, available for Premium users outside the Philippines.