By Joshua Corcuera
The University Athletic Association of the Philippines, or UAAP, returned with a full-calendar season last Saturday, October 1. Now on its Season 85, the prominent collegiate league will play 60 events in 21 sports, a huge increase as compared to the previous season which only had 7 events.
As someone studying in a UAAP school, the league is something helpful for students. For student-athletes, it is a means for them to study at college because they are provided scholarships by the schools they represent. For ordinary students, UAAP events allow them to relax, to get rid of their stress in academics, and to enjoy some good time with their friends and blockmates. This is especially true for popular sports such as basketball and volleyball which are usually the highlight of the UAAP.
In the Philippines, there are two well-known collegiate leagues; the other one being NCAA. However, the UAAP, arguably, is more well-known because its eight member schools are perceived to be more prominent. For instance, the Big Four—UP, Ateneo, DLSU, and UST—are member schools of the UAAP and these universities, the most prominent in the country, also boast huge student populations. Moreover, it cannot be denied that UAAP schools have produced popular alumni in various fields. This applies as well to the other non-Big Four schools which can still be regarded as prestigious universities, though not at the same level as the Big Four according to university rankings such as QS. Not surprisingly, the league is televised—at least its basketball and volleyball events, but also other sports such as football in recent years.
Recently, the president of UAAP Season 85, Fr. Aldrin Suan of Adamson University, met with the chairperson of the Philippine Sports Commission, Noli Eala, who expressed his support for the league. “I’m very happy to support the UAAP,” said Eala, “I don’t know how, but in [sic] our facilities, of course, are always welcome to help you.” The UAAP uses several PSC facilities for some events such as the Rizal Memorial Stadium for football events.
The current season of the UAAP is hosted by Adamson University. The San Marcelino-based school faced the España-based University of Santo Tomas (UST) in two basketball events last Saturday, one for men’s basketball and another for women’s basketball. UST would eventually win in both games and open the season with a good start while the hosts have got some work to do, as far as their basketball teams are concerned. Speaking of basketball, the University of the Philippines (UP) and Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) are considered as the teams to beat for the UAAP’s men’s basketball event. After all, UP won last season’s championship while Ateneo placed second and is historically strong.
To me, the fact that the UAAP Season 85 will have a full calendar event with 60 events is a sign that things are returning to normal. Further, it is a good thing for students, especially those studying in UAAP schools, as they support their student-athletes, make memories with their friends when they watch events physically, and take a much needed rest from the stress of studies.