MANILA, Philippines – Defending champion Ateneo de Manila University battles archrival De La Salle University in the featured UAAP Season 80 men's football match on Thursday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The Blue Eagles and the Green Archers clash in the first "UAAP Clasico" of Season 80 at 4 p.m.
All eyes are on Ateneo this season, and the spotlight only grew brighter after the Blue Eagles opened their title defense with a 0-1 loss to University of the Philippines (UP) in the Katipunan derby.
The Blue Eagles earned their first full points of the season after Sunday's 3-1 demolition of National University (NU).
Sam Lim returns to action for Ateneo on Thursday after serving a one-game suspension, thus providing support to reigning MVP Jarvey Gayoso, Rupert Bana, and Jeremiah Rocha.
Meanwhile, the Green Archers are hoping to make a return to the Final 4 this year after missing the cut last season.
Under the radar during the offseason, La Salle served notice of its intentions in its first two games. The Green Archers are level with University of Santo Tomas (UST) and UP at the top of the table with six points.
La Salle turned back Far Eastern University, 3-1, in the season opener before prevailing over Adamson University, 2-0, last Sunday.
Matthew Custodio, Yoshi Koizumi, Christian Zuburi and Marcus Garcia will be the main men for the Archers.
In other fixtures, UST takes on NU at 2 p.m., while University of the Philippines faces Adamson in the non-televised match at 9 a.m.
Both UP and UST have yet to concede a goal this season.
With that, the Bulldogs and the Falcons, both mired at the basement, need to play with urgency against the Tigers and Maroons, respectively, to avoid falling behind in the standings.
UST's Marvin Bricenio is currently the leading goalscorer with four followed by his teammate Dexter Benecio with two. Not far behind are UP's King Miyagi and JB Borlongan, who also scored two goals.
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