By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
THE truncated Season 82 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) officially drew to a close last Saturday with the closing ceremony done online.
Abruptly cut by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the league and its TV coveror ABS-CBN Sports made sure the season had an appropriate closure with the University of Santo Tomas being crowned as overall champion both for the juniors and seniors divisions, and the Ateneo de Manila University turning over hosting duties to next season’s host De La Salle University.
Beamed across the different social media platforms of ABS-CBN Sports, the hour-long closing ceremony celebrated what was an eventful season for varying reasons, spotlighting the efforts of all eight member schools and the athletes, including those who were unable to finish their season due to the cancellation of the games.
The Growling Tigers won their 44th overall crown with 209 points after ruling five events, namely men’s and women’s beach volleyball; men’s and women’s table tennis, and men’s judo. They also had five silver and three bronze finishes. On the other hand, the Tiger Cubs bagged its sixth straight general championship — 21st overall — with 179 points.
Fifteen student-athletes were also honored with the Athlete Scholar awards, namely, Adamson University’s Rochelle Lalongisip (girls volleyball) and Cleofe Magsayo (softball); Ateneo’s Joaquin Santos (boys swimming) and Chloe Daos (women’s swimming); DLSU’s Raven Alcoseba (boys swimming) and Darius Diamante (men’s football); Far Eastern University’s Cholo Anonuevo (boys basketball) and Clare Castro (women’s basketball); National University’s Camille Clarin (women’s basketball) and Allaney Doroy (girls; chess); University of the East’s Denise Pidlaoan (girls judo) and Leah Lopez (women’s judo); University of the Philippines’ Gabriel Salazar (men’s judo); and UST’s Aljiren Fuchigami (men’s football) and Regina Jurado (girls; volleyball).
Also recognized were the Most Valuable Players from each completed event.
No Athlete of the Year Award was handed out, however.
Instead the league honored all 1,214 student-athletes from canceled events collegiate volleyball, collegiate football, collegiate baseball, collegiate softball, track and field, lawn tennis, and 3×3 basketball.
In April, the UAAP officially decided to scrap the remainder of Season 82 because of the growing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
ATENEO TO LA SALLE
The closing ceremony also had Ateneo turning over hosting chores to La Salle, which has a motto for next season of “Fully Alive, Champions For Life.”
The turnover was conducted between Ateneo University President Fr. Jett Villarin, SJ and his DLSU counterpart Bro. Raymundo Suplido, FSC.
In receiving the hosting duties, Mr. Suplido acknowledged that they have their work cut out for them amid the COVID-19 situation but they vowed to be careful and resilient in staging Season 83, which is being eyed to start early next year.
“For the love of sports, we have to challenge ourselves to continue to excel. It is important that we do so with resilience and fortitude. Also, we must plan and play but with safety and prudence in our minds so that we do not risk the health and safety of our members,” the La Salle official said.
Meanwhile, UAAP Executive Director Rebo Saguisag said over Radyo Singko’s Power and Play with Noli Eala that while it was unfortunate that Season 82 was cut, they were still thankful that they were able to work around the situation and close things out properly.
Looking ahead, Mr. Saguisag shared various challenges present themselves for the league, including the issue on its TV coveror after ABS-CBN Sports was forced to sign off following the non-renewal of its parent network’s franchise by Congress.
The UAAP official said they will continue to evaluate their options and do what is best for the league.
ABS-CBN Sports was home to the UAAP since 2000. Their latest contract ended in May.