What I love best about UAAP games

RAZZLE-DAZA - Pat-P Daza - The Philippine Star
What I love best about UAAP games
The Mall of Asia Arena was packed to the rafters for the UP-Ateneo de Manila basketball game last May 1.

After the pandemic forced a two-year hiatus, the UAAP has started to hold live basketball games once again in its 84th season. Last May 1, I was able to watch the UP vs Ateneo game at the Mall of Asia Arena. It has been a while since my last live UAAP game, so I was extremely excited to see what the experience would be like. To my surprise, the arena was packed with people decked in maroon and blue, all coming together to enjoy the clash of the season’s two best teams.

My daughter Gabbie was the one who eagerly wanted to watch the game, being a Maroon Iskolar ng Bayan herself. She even mentioned how many of her friends have been watching the past games. Not only did she want to cheer for the UP Basketball Team, she also wanted to see her friends at MOA Arena. Sure enough, she did bump into many of her friends… as did I! I almost forgot how much of a social event the UAAP basketball games are. One such familiar face belonged to my cousin, Sandy Daza, a full-fledged UP supporter. He was joined by Jennie Celdran, the producer of a brand-new TV show which Sandy and I are cooking up together.

The game itself was exhilarating. For most of it, I was on the edge of my seat because of the seesawing score. You could feel everyone’s enthusiasm and anticipation. The last two quarters were not good for my blood pressure, nor for anyone else’s for that matter. One team would be in the lead for a while, then soon after, the opposing team would be ahead. Many players were also injured during the game due to the intense back-and-forth scoring. What a nail-biter!

In the end, UP prevailed by just one point! The final score was UP with 84 points and Ateneo with 83. To top it all off, UP even broke Ateneo’s four-year, 39-game winning streak. This was definitely one heck of a historic hoops game that I’m privileged to have witnessed live.

After the game, cheers echoed throughout the entire arena. Among those joyfully screaming was one of today’s brightest stars, Andrea Brillantes, who was there to support her boyfriend, UP cager Ricci Rivero. Sporting a pink ensemble and holding a large and charming sign for Ricci, she reminded me of a cheerleader. They even shared an adorable moment afterwards as she was the first person he went to right after UP’s triumphant win.

More than anything though, what I truly love is how the UAAP games promote loyalty to one’s alma mater. What a sight it was to see how decked out everyone was in their university’s colors.

Ateneo, UP, DLSU, and FEU are now in UAAP Season 84’s final four. Regardless of the outcome, this season is already historic for many reasons, not the least of which is the resumption of the games after a two-year suspension due to the COVID pandemic.

All in all, it felt great to be back at a UAAP basketball game once more, and to be in the thick of that uniquely electrifying atmosphere. Though we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, the UAAP games are as fierce and as fun as ever. In fact, our experience was so rewarding that my daughter is already asking for tickets to the next games. I’m over-the-moon that spectators have been allowed to watch the games onsite once again, and I’m looking forward to witnessing more pulse-pounding basketball action. Cheers to UAAP Season 84!

(Catch the UAAP Basketball games at One Sports Varsity Channel Cignal TV Channel 263.)


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