Ninoy Aquino Stadium evokes memories of UST-FEU rivalry

Ninoy Aquino Stadium evokes memories of longtime UST-FEU rivarly

/ 12:23 AM April 14, 2024

View of the Ninoy Aquino stadium during the game between FEU Lady Tamaraws and UST Tigresses.

View of the Ninoy Aquino stadium during the game between FEU Lady Tamaraws and UST Tigresses. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — The rivalry between Far Eastern University and the University of Santo Tomas lived on in UAAP volleyball’s return to the Ninoy Aquino Stadium after nearly three decades.

FEU and UST continued to bring out the best in each other in front of 3,309 fans on Saturday at the newly-renovated Ninoy Aquino Stadium, which last hosted a UAAP volleyball game in the 1990s. 

The last UAAP event held at the historic venue was table tennis during the years of late La Salle legend Ian Larriba, while the last crowned UAAP champions at Ninoy was La Salle Zobel in the juniors and the Ateneo women’s team in 2007.

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READ: UAAP volleyball: FEU gets back at UST to book Final Four berth

“It brings back the old memories. I used to watch this rivalry when I was in third year high school back in 1996, the first time I went here in Manila,” said UST coach KungFu Reyes, who watched the game of FEU’s former MVP and his ex-Army player Tina Salak against UST stars then Roxane Pimentel and Joanne Botor at Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

The Lady Tamaraws got the last laugh, pulling off a vengeful 19-25, 25-19, 21-25, 25-20, 15-10 victory over the Tigresses to book the last ticket to the Final Four in the UAAP Season 86 women’s volleyball tournament on Saturday evening.

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“Now, we’re back here in a different era. Despite the loss, we’re still happy that the tradition lives on. FEU and UST continue to compete against each other at the highest level. The capacity of our players, the prestige, school pride, and rivalry are still there,” Reyes said.

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Aside from bringing back FEU to the semis after two seasons, rookie Lady Tamaraws coach Manolo Refugia was thrilled to experience his win in the women’s division after a couple of rivalry games during his time as the men’s volleyball team setter.

“Ever since the time of Coach Kid [Santos] at Coach Emil [Lontoc] in men’s, the rivalry has been there. Even during my time as a player, coach Kid told us to lose to anyone by UST. Coach Kid at Coach Emil were close friends but when it comes to the game, the rivalry is always there,” said the former FEU captain in 2015, who played for the late Kid Santos.

“It feels great to experience this rivalry, which still goes on with several fans.”

Reyes, whose UST fell to a 10-2 record, congratulated FEU (7-4) for its well-deserved win to complete the Final Four with La Salle and National University, the finalists and the last two champions of the past two seasons.

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Refugia promises the Lady Tamaraws won’t settle for just a Final Four appearance.

“Thank you to the FEU community because they’ve been supporting us all throughout. Expect us to continue to give our best. And we will continue to fight together in the Final Four,” the youthful FEU coach said.

TAGS: FEU Lady Tamaraws, UAAP Season 86

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