Veteran booter Paolo Bugas has one mission in mind — bring back the crown to the Far Eastern University (FEU) in his last playing year in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) football tournament.
And the senior member of the FEU Football Team, who also plays for Global FC, said that’s the only reason why he decided to return for one more year for the Tamaraws.
“I want to get that championship for FEU because this will be my last playing year,” the 22-year-old midfielder said in Filipino after the Tamaraws’ 2-0 win over University of Santo Tomas (UST).
“Loyalty is the main reason why I came back. It’s my last season for the team and I want to prove to the FEU community that even though I’m already with Global FC, I can still find time playing for my school,” he said.
Bugas had a breakthrough career last year after donning the country’s colors with a stint with the Azkals but he’s commitment to give FEU another UAAP title drives him to return this season.
“I decided that I would come back because of course, I respect our bosses in FEU. I grew up playing for them and I would not be here where I am now if it wasn’t for them.”
And Bugas said the win over UST put them on the right track.
“Our main target this season is to get a good start. We need to win every game and we do not want draws. Unlike last season, we want to put up a better performance this year,” he said.
Last season, FEU’s two-year championship reign was cut short after an ugly exit in the elimination round after recording seven wins, three draws and four defeats, not enough to secure a spot in the Final Four round.
The Tamaraws made changes from personnel to coaching staff this year to ensure that they will contend for the title.
“Actually, before the start of the season, there were conflicts within the team but we got over it and decided that we will respect the decision of the management on who will be coaching us,” he said.
Vince Santos replaced FEU’s long-time Korean coach Master Kim Chul Su and added another Korean in Bobae Park in its coaching staff.
Bugas admitted the team had only one month of solid training leading to the UAAP tournament under their new mentor.
“One of the biggest problems we had is that we did not have a great pre-season preparation but we trained for one month together with coach Vince.”
“We are working on a new system because we have new coaches. We’re mixing it with the old and new ones,” Bugas ended.