ATENEO de Manila's sprawling field will play witness as the university hosts the Season 72 UAAP football competitions in the men, women and junior divisions from January 17 to February 28.
The university's sports director and UAAP board representative Ricky Palou said that three men's games, two women's contests and two junior matches will highlight opening day hostilities.
Reigning men's champion University of the Philippines (UP) begins its title defense bid against University of the East (UE) at 9:30 a.m. at the Erenchun Field.
Host Ateneo squares off with Far Eastern University (FEU) in the 1 p.m. match, while De La Salle faces University of Santo Tomas (UST) at 3 p.m.
In the women's side at the Ocampo field, La Salle takes on UP at 1 p.m., followed by the 3 p.m. contest between Ateneo and FEU.
In junior's play at the Ocampo field, host and reigning champion Ateneo takes on UST at 7:30 a.m., followed by the 9:30 a.m. match between La Salle-Zobel and FEU.
The junior football event will now be played as regular UAAP sport.
Meanwhile at the close of first-round volleyball eliminations, defending men's champion UST Growling Tigers and FEU Tamaraws are locked on top of the standings after disposing of their respective rivals at The Arena in San Juan City Wednesday.
The Tigers rebounded from an opening set loss to post a 22-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-22 triumph over the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons while the Tamaraws only needed 54 minutes in scoring a 25-16, 25-14, 25-16 win against the Adamson Falcons.
John Paul Torres sizzled with personal-best 22 hits and had two blocks as the Tigers ended the first round with a 6-1 slate to join the Tams on top of the eight-team field.
Adamson's loss dropped them to a share of the fifth to sixth spots with the Ateneo Blue Eagles at 2-5 while the Maroons joined the University of the East Red Warriors from third to fourth with a 4-3 mark.
La Salle Green Archers meanwhile are in solo fourth at 3-4. National University (NU) Bulldogs are weeping in the tail-end, 1-6.
In the women's contest, the late showing of ace Tigresses setter Rhea Dimaculangan almost made contender Lady Falcons to score a hit but not enough though as the UST forged a three-way tie for second spot by clobbering Adamson, 18-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-15.
Dimaculangan was late for the match due to school commitments, a source said.
Maizo finished with 23 hits, including six blocks, while Tabaquero added 18 points, including five blocks, for the Tigresses.
"This win is very important for us, a sign of good momentum going to the second round," said Tigresses coach Shaq delos Santos in an interview.
UST joined Adamson and Ateneo in the second spot with identical 5-2 slates going to the second round, behind defending champion La Salle which boasts of an immaculate 7-0 card.
FEU is in fifth place with 3-4 slate, followed by UP (2-5), UE (1-6) and listless NU (0-7).
Second round volleyball action resumes on Saturday as NU tries to improve their record by taking on Ateneo at 9 a.m. while an expected showdown between UE and FEU is set at 11 a.m. for the men's division.
Afternoon matches will feature UP and NU at 2 p.m. while front-runners La Salle and Adamson will tangle on the 4 p.m. main event. (Virgil Lopez)