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There is no doubt that the 76th UAAP basketball championship contested by the University of Santo Tomas UST and De La Salle University (DLSU) is one for the sports history books. The 3-game series between the DLSU Green Archers and the UST Growling Tigers displayed the best of Philippine collegiate basketball.
Although I have not personally watched the games being thousand miles away from the MOA Arena, the screaming sports headlines in the Philippine national dailies told it all. With UST winning the first game and DLSU fighting back in the second game, with the third and deciding game was one that was expectedly entertaining and explosive and considered to be “anybody’s ballgame”.
After a classic Game 3, only one team remained “standing” though. After trailing by 15 points in the mid-third quarter of the highly emotional and spectacular game, the DLSU Green Archers captured the much coveted UAAP men’s basketball with a score of 71-69, before more than 23,000 basketball fanatics at the MOA Arena. What was theatrical was the fact that DLSU won the blockbuster final game by only 2 points and this after an overtime play after the regulation period with both teams having identical scores.
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So magnificent was the DLSU– UST hoop games that it can only be compared to a movie-like histrionic entertainment. One dramatic thing is the intense rivalry between the brothers Teng, Jeric (UST) and Jeron (DLSU), sons of former UST and PBA player Alvin Teng. Belonging to a close-knit family, the siblings would cheer for each other with the rest of the Teng family led by their father, Alvin and mom, Susan. Reportedly, Jeron would be in the stands in UST yellow when Jeric had a game and Jeric would reciprocate by wearing green when Jeron was playing for the DLSU Archers.
One sports scribe had reported that “One could easily empathize with Jeron therefore when he sought Jeric after the final buzzer and raised the latter’s hand to show to one and all that the beaten brother (Jeric )was, in his (Jeron’s) heart, the true winner.” “In his post-game interview, DLSU Jeron said that UST Jeric is the true MVP – certainly a comment that embodies genuine respect and admiration and not pity for the loser. It is during such awkward moments when one is caught up with one’s own goals and the need to do one’s best at the expense of others that one’s character and basic decency is tested.”
What a character and admirable trait of a young basketball star and winner! While I find the brothers Jeric and Jeron worthy of approbation as venerable collegiate basketball stars, my appreciation and respect goes to their parents, Alvin and Susan, for raising such praiseworthy and humble individuals. For me, both Jeric and Jeron are winners, as well as the whole Alvin Teng’s family.
I don’t consider myself qualified to offer an in-depth analysis on the DLSU- UST tussle mainly because I have not watched the games and outdated with the details of the 76th UAAP series.
But based on the information from the internet, one glaring account I have observed is that DLSU had a deeper bench plus an advantage of having bigger and taller players in the “Big Trio”, Arnold Van Opstal, Norberto Torres and Perkins. Height is might in basketball! Isn’t it? On the UST side, only Karim Abdul is the legitimate post player ”inside the paint”.
In the scoring parameter, DLSU has prolific scorers in Jeron Teng, Van Opstal, Almond Vosotros and Norbert Torres who contributed double digits in Game 2. LA Revilla is another DLSU player who is a consistent scorer and rebounder. Even the rookies and sophomore players of DLSU are potential scorers given more playing minutes. On the other hand, the scoring load for UST is mostly carried by Jeric Teng and Karim Abdul. Although Kevin Ferrer and Aljon Mariano are potential scorers, their consistency is questionable. Most often on crucial games, Ferrer cannot check his emotions, disastrously affecting his game while Mariano has made poor selection shots in the final game, exhibiting his failure to perform his real worth as a good player while under extreme pressure.
Whatever the result was, UAAP will remain as a leader in collegiate basketball in the Philippines and will sustain its attraction in sports to hundreds of thousands of basketball aficionados. We salute the DLSU Green Archers and the UST Growling Tigers.
Interestingly, I made some research on the evolution of the UAAP and made some notes hereunder:
After playing in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) since 1923, National U, UP and UST formally seceded from the NCAA in March 1932. Led by UP's Candido C. Bartolome, NU's Leon Tirol and UST's Fr. Silvestre Sancho, the move was made to put competitions on equal footing, to increase amateur athletic competitions and to separate the universities from the college members of the league. On April 6, the "Big 3 League" was born. On August 14, the "Big 3" Association was inaugurated with a meet that starts with basketball. Other events were swimming, baseball, relays, track and field, volleyball, tennis and soccer.
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In 1938, the University of the Philippines Alumni Association and the Philippine Amateur Athletic Federation (PAAF), then the highest sports body in the country, encouraged the original "Big 3 League" and FEU to form a permanent sports association—the University Athletic Association of the Philippines. Events included were basketball, women's volleyball, baseball, football, swimming and track and field. Thus UAAP was born!
In 1941, the outbreak of World War II hindered the staging of the 1941–1942 UAAP with UST failing to complete its term. UAAP competition was not held from 1942 to 1946 due to the Japanese occupation of the country which resulted in the closure of educational institutions. The UAAP competition was resumed in 1947.
In 1970, Adamson University re-applied for admission to the league with a two-year probationary period and in 1974, Adamson successfully hosted the 1974–1975 athletic season paving the way for its permanent membership into the league.
In 1978, the UAAP admitted Ateneo de Manila University into the league while De La Salle University joined in 1986.
The UAAP basketball sport has a rich history of schools establishing dynasties. The FEU Tamaraws have the most number of championships in the men's basketball division, having won 19 titles. UST Growling Tigers and UE Red Warriors shared the second spot with 18 championships titles each.
The UE Red Warriors own the longest championship run in Seniors Basketball, with seven straight championships (including a shared title), from 1965 to 1971. This includes the 2004 championship, where De La Salle forfeited the championship due to the fielding of ineligible players and the disputed 1991 championship where De La Salle did not show-up in the replay of Game 1.
Two other schools shared the championship streak at (4) four each: UST won it from 1993-1996. La Salle won from 1998-2001. Ateneo currently has a 5 year winning streak.
Of course, DLSU Green Archers won the championship this year, 2013, Ateneo Blue Eagles last won in 2012, UST Growling Tigers in 2006, FEU Tamaraws in 2005, UP Fighting Maroons in 1986, UE Red Warriors in 1985, Adamson Falcons in 1977 and NU Bulldogs in 1954.
Most star players of the UAAP have either joined professional basketball leagues or participated in national and international basketball competition including the Asian Games and the Olympics. Some of the players have already passed away and some were enshrined in the Philippine Basketball Hall of Fame.
|Courtesy of www.ue.edu.ph|
UE Warriors who shone in both collegiate and professional basketball leagues were Robert Jaworski “Big J, (who led UE to the UAAP championship in the 1966 and 1967 championships), Rodolfo “Magician” Soriano, Rudolf Kutch, Johnny Revilla, Epoy Alcantara, Ernie de Leon and Tito Varela. Among many others, UE Red Warriors had great players in Constancio Ortiz Jr., 3-times UAAP MVP Allan “Triggerman” Caidic, Jerry “Defense Minister” Codinera, Father and son Filomeno and Derrick Pumaren, Jaime Mariano, Roehl Nadurata, Virgilo ‘Haba Haba”Abarrientos, Rudy Distrito, Bong Ravena, Boyzie Zamar and James Yap.
UST Growling Tigers (formerly Glowing Goldies) has paraded Danny Florencio, considered as the most dreaded offensive weapon in Philippine basketball history who scored 64 points in one PBA game. Other prominent Goldies were Fely and Gabby Fajardo, Renato Reyes (first collegiate player to play in Olympics), Edgardo Bauzon, Bogs Adornardo, Larry Mumar, George Lizares, Pido Jarencio, Rey Evangelista, Bong Hawkins, Bobby Jose, Siot Tanquincen, Dennis Espino, Chris Cantonjos and “Master Showman” Cyrus Baguio.
FEU Tamaraws contributed to the UAAP elite players among them the late movie actors Paquito Diaz and Romy Diaz, Olympian Geronimo “Gerry” Cruz, (recruited by the University of San Francisco to play in the 1959 US NCAA), Yoyoy Villamin, Engracio “Boy” Arazas, Arturo Valenzona, Roa brothers Joselino and Joselito, Gerry Esplana, Anthony Williams, Tino Reynoso Glenn Capacio, Johnny Abarrientos, Victor Pablo, Jeffrey Chan, Arwind Santos, Marc Barroca, Terence Romeo and many others.
Before joining the UAAP in 1986, DLSU has already won 5 NCAA championships between 1939 and 1974. Some of its revered NCAA and UAAP players include Ramonito Campos, Eddie Decena, Martin Urra, Kurt Bachmann, Ramoncito Campos, Virgil Villavicencio, Mike Bilbao, Lim Eng Beng, Ricardo Brown, Franz and Dindo Pumaren, Jun Limpot, Mark Telan, Jun Allado, Ren Ren Ritualo, Mike Cortez, Marc Cardona and Jayvee Casio.
The ADMU was a pioneer in Philippine collegiate sports having participated since 1914. Just like DLSU, ADMU transferred from the NCAA to UAAP in 1978. As of the year 2012, ADMU has won a combined 22 men’s collegiate basketball championship titles, 14 in the NCAA and 8 in the UAAP. Among ADMU notable players as King Eagle title include Ambrosio Padilla (later to become a lawyer and Senator), Jesus Suarez, Bing Ouano, Primitivo Martinez, Amado Obordo, Jesus Arce, Bobby Jones, Baby Dalupan, Antonio Gaston, Jose Cacho, Honesto Mayoralgo, Francisco Rabat, Mario Ballesteros, Fernando Hernaez, Ed Ocampo, Cristino Arroyo, Amado Martelino, Felix Flores, Marte Samson, Joy Cleofas, Francis Arnaiz, Joy Carpio, Jojo Lastimosa, Olsen Racela, Rico Vilanueva, Rich Alvarez, JC Intal, LA Tenorio, Chris Tiu, Nico Salva, Kiefer Ravena and many more.
Adamson U has prominent UAAP players like Rodolfo “Ompong” Segura , Joy Dionisio, Hector Calma, Kenneth Duremdes, Leo Austria, Louie Alas, Marlou Aquino, Edward Feihl, Gherome Ejercito and Eddie Laure.
NU had Adriano “Jun” (Rifleman) Papa, Chris Bolado, Danny Ildefonso, Rey Mendoza, Alfie Grijaldo, Lordy Tugade Bryan Tolentino and Ray Parks.
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UP won the UAAP title in 1986, after a title drought of 47 years, its earlier championship won in 1939. The 1986 squad was mentored by Joe Lipa and spearheaded by Benjie Paras, 1986 UAAP MVP Eric Altamirano and Ronnie Magsanoc. The underdog UP Maroons beat the heavily favored, Jerry Codinera-led UE Warriors. The UP Maroons was a bridesmaid on 2 championship series in the coveted UAAP title in 1982 and 1983. Other distinguished UP players include Joe Lipa, 1968 UAAP MVP Fort Acuna, Yeng Guiao, Joey Guanio, Bo Perasol, Ryan Gregorio, Poch Juinio, Paolo Mendoza, Bryan Gahol and JR Reyes.
The Philippines is a basketball-crazy country where basketball stars are revered as “demi-gods” and icons. The fame of many basketball stars has catapulted them to succeed in other fields especially in politics and show business. Classic examples are the cases of the late Sen. Ambrosio Padilla (ADMU) and former Sen. Robert Jaworski (UE). Among the many others, some who made good in politics are former Mati Mayor and Davao Governor Francisco Rabat (ADMU), former Bukidnon Governor and Rep. George Zubiri (DLSU), former Quezon City Councilor and Rep. Dennis Roldan (Trinity College), former San Juan Councilor and Pasig Rep. Dodot Jaworski (ADMU), former Quezon City Councilor Franz Pumaren and former San Juan Councilor and now Vice Mayor Francis Zamora (DLSU).
Through the years, “the UAAP believes that total development of an individual does not solely depend on his academic growth. Most importantly, a person’s progress to become productive community members continues to draw its strength from the encouraging participation of the students making the UAAP a foundation truly fostering camaraderie and sportsmanship.”
The Universities Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), established in 1938, is a sports association of eight universities in the Philippines and will be here to stay.
Rogelio G. Balo
Central Valley, California USA
Oct. 16, 2013