After almost four decades, the “Battle of University Belt” comes back to life when the University of Santo Tomas battles Far Eastern University anew for the men’s basketball supremacy in UAAP Season 78.
It was on October 18, 1979 when Far Eastern University hacked out a convincing 100-89 win over University of Santo Tomas, then known as the Glowing Goldies, at the Loyola Center in Katipunan.
Dating back to history, FEU was one of the founding members of the other collegiate league, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The Tamaraws left in 1935, and eventually joined in the formation of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP). The Morayta-based squad’s coach then was Arturo Valenzona, who, to date, is still very visible as a consultant.
The Tamaraws achieved a three-peat from 1979-1981 behind the heroics of 1981 MVP Anthony Williams.
Ed Cordero, who is now a first assistant to Atoy Co at the Mapua Cardinals helm, was UST’s main man during that era. But due to flu, he was forced to sit out in that final game that crushed UST’s chance of snagging the coveted UAAP title.
Williams, Bai Cristobal, Rad Pascua, Rey Lazaro and Alfredo Amador were among the players under Valenzona.
Rogelio Serafica was then calling the shots for UST. He had the likes of Edmund Yee and Francisco Natividad as offensive threats alongside Cordero.
Now known as the ferocious Growling Tigers, UST will try to look back on history and avenge that stinging loss to FEU. To be led by Kevin Ferrer, Ed Daquioag, Louie Vigil, and Karim Abdul, they will try to win that elusive that that has been escaping them the past four years. The last time UST won the crown was in 2006 led by Jervy Cruz and Dylan Ababou.
FEU will lean on Mark Belo, Mike Tolomia, and Roger Pogoy to carry on with the fight for the Tamaraws
Belo and Ferrer, who were teammates in the Gilas Pilipinas Team will have to forget brotherhood for now as they don different jerseys, representing different schools.
Dubbed as the last dance, Game 1 is where men separate themselves from the boys. And that is exactly what will happen on Wednesday, November 25 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
UST, who currently has 18 men’s basketball championship titles, is eyeing to tie FEU, who has 19 under their belt.