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UE scores stunner over UP, FEU, UST win on opening day

By Josiah Albelda Posted Nov 24th 2013

UE, the lone winless squad last season, opened the UAAP Season 76 men's football tournament with a giant-sized upset of UP even as UST and FEU also prevailed.

For coach Ryan Marinay, the transformation from whipping boys to winners rests primarily on attitude.

And in his first game handling a University of the East side that didn't win a single match in Season 75, the change was very evident.

The Red Booters blanked last year's finalist University of the Philippines, 2-0, to open their 76th UAAP men's football campaign with a bang Saturday at the FEU Diliman turf.

"Sabi ko sa kanila, pinaka-importante sa lahat ang attitude," an elated Marinay said after the stunning win.

"Kailangan magbago yung tingin nila (other teams) sa atin. Dati kase parati na lang nambubugbog, red card, red card. Ngayon, ugali muna bago mag training."

There were no red cards issued for UE, a crew known for its rough, physical play, this time around as Marinay's wards focused on the task at hand.

The favored Fighting Maroons actually went off on a good start, as UP pounced on the Red Booters' lackadaisical defense in the first 15 minutes.

Skipper Jinggoy Valmayor almost scored on a header but UE's Fitch Arboleda converted in the counterattack, slotting a goal past Ace Villanueva for a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute.

Shaken, the Maroons tried to mount an offensive attack, but couldn't get through the Red Booters' defense even as UP's back four struggled in containing UE's attackers.

Edgardo Aguirre doubled the lead in the 37th minute, scoring off a rebound after his penalty kick bounced off Villanueva's hands.

Sniffing an upset, the Red Booters clogged the Maroons' side of the field, preventing the former champs from hoisting a serious attack in the last 45 minutes.

"Bilog talaga ang bola," Marinay, who was an assistant coach for Ateneo in the Blue Booters' run to the crown last year, added.

In the curtain-raiser, University of Santo Tomas downed De La Salle University, 2-0, to also open their title bid on a high note.

Jogi Celiz set the tone for the Golden Booters with a goal in just the fourth minute before Patrick O'Neill iced the win with another conversion 10 minutes before full time.

Meanwhile, Far Eastern University flexed its muscles in the first ever UAAP football match televised live, beating National University, 2-0.

Nicolas Ferrer fired back-to-back goals late in the first half as the Tamaraws impressed their home fans once more with their trademark offense.