|Photo from Rapler|
Commentary of an Academic
(Copyright @ 2018 by Chester B Cabalza. All Rights Reserved).
The hashtag Battle of Katipunan over the weekend protrudes an entertaining matchup on court by two of the country’s leading universities along Katipunan avenue to rally a school pride. Sid Ventura’s nostalgic piece on UP-Ateneo’s symbiotic co-existence begets mutual admiration and respect in spite of ‘fenemies’ zoning in our academic backyard. Game one of the UP Fighting Maroons pitted against Ateneo Blue Eagles represents a figment of realization that the ‘best of three games’ is a finals series 40 years in the making.
The incessant hype flooding on the seamless social media constantly trickles in our sybaritic dream, irrespective of academic communities we belong, pulling off achingly beautiful memes and tweets to celebrate a rare sporting glory. Fostering creativity and euphoria, legendary Eraserheads’ alumnus drummer Raimund Marasigan teamed up with rappers BLKD and Rye, all shared the peyups tradition, composing overnight a track of triumph Atin ‘to from State U captain Paul Desiderio’s vigorous viral verse to fire up fellow Isko and Iska perceived by a league of critics as the year’s best by morphing into classic basketball game after the UP Men’s Basketball Team survived Adamson Soaring Falcons in a heart-stopping blockbuster do-or-die showdown before facing the well-oiled defending champion.
Floy Quintos’ soulful reflection before game one unifies the aspiration for inspiration in these most uninspiring of times paving a way of chance for UP to win aimed at revving up the school spirit. But Matt Nieto and Thirdy Ravena’s unsparing playoff skills on the court to get that basketball crown brightened up recessive Blue Eagles cheering squad rarely dominated by the UP community as they altogether jubilantly flocked at the Mall of Asia Arena last Saturday after executing a hard time in shaking off unwavering Fighting Maroons with a hard-earned 88-79 win amidst the gung-ho battlecry #UPFight. Overturning the ratio, Ateneans are camping out overnight for Ateneo-UP Finals Game 2.
Naveen Ganglani’s impeccable angle of observation pens that the Blue Eagles preached System vs. Will to Fighting Maroons with the latter’s convincing structured gameplan based on simplicity and accuracy contrary to American-Kiwi Tab Baldwin’s cautious coaching to his Atenean players when he finally spewed to media interviews that UP head coach Bo Perasol’s surprised strategic redemption may work out well in the succeeding games of the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball finals.
Even if the National State University lost its first game to Ateneo de Manila University despite a marked controversial incident between mixed Filipino tower players Angelo Kouame and Bright Akhuetie, the UP community congratulated jovial Ateneans, blessed as the third university to have the most number of championship trophies. Even if UP failed to sustain its victory on game one, Danilo Concepcion alludes to naysayers and discourages the planned violence from his own camp to keep the game in high esteem highlighting the values of sportsmanship, fair play and civility in athletics, notwithstanding, the academic reputation and social conscience these top two universities are known for.
The cross-pollination of ideas Raissa Robles shares in her article reveals how artists, athletes and intellectuals from these neighboring academia exchange philosophies and designs to get rid of in-breeding from their own boundaries. She shares a mixed feeling upon watching the game describing it as a match between best friends. Regardless of the game results for Game 2 on Wednesday and as the Battle of Katipunan goes on, the unceasing joy it brings to respective campuses buoys up a gracious conscious effort for the two basketball teams to make history written in the stars that cuts across generations apparently dominated by techno-savvy millennials.
UP proudly plays its first championship game since 1987 persevering a hard work as it competes against a formidable ADMU for two more final games. The narrative of teamwork and sportsmanship commonly shared by the two neighbors on the opposite side of Katipunan should prevail. History is in the making that may perhaps sum up the tears of joy these two vast and manicured campuses can best offer to Filipino basketball fanatics. Belies an attitude of a champion hustling like an underdog. It is a plot of courage between a David versus Goliath on the hoop. A test of gameplan as well as a baptism of fire for the State University to own its unique place in this prestigious league endured by its motto of tapang at talino. Call it a fairy tale of Cinderella or an epic story of Count of Monte Cristo as the UP Fighting Maroons continuously battles the Ateneo Blue Eagles for the first time in the finals.
The Battle of Katipunan is a defining moment not only for the two rival men’s basketball teams. More so, it means a lot to students, administrators, faculty, and alumni from these two top universities as Filipinos from around the world will watch them play living up to high expectations beyond sports. Basketball touted as the most popular sports in all the 15 sports of the UAAP must value the high caliber of human kinetics as we witness a showdown of the best and the brightest rookies at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, transforming the basketball court into a spectacular window of magical run showcasing class and elegance embodying the principles of freedom of expression, academic excellence, solidarity and civility of sports when excited fans of the Fighting Maroons and Blue Eagles meet again.