Photos by Kenneth Almeida Panlilio
When UAAP 82 host Ateneo de Manila University launched the league’s new season at the MOA Arena last September 1, 2019, the school also unveiled a new logo, the latest designs of trophies and medals, as well as a theme song especially created by the pop band Itchyworms. All these embody the league’s current theme or motto, “All for more.”
The theme is inspired by the Jesuit value of “Magis,” a Latin term for “greater” or “more.” This is also expressed in a redesigned UAAP emblem with eight right arrows or “greater than” symbols in the colors of the eight UAAP member-universities linked together.
In a heartfelt speech, ADMU President Rev. Fr. Jett Villarin SJ explained each of the word in the theme. “(We say) ‘all’ because we celebrate each other. We are a community first before we are competitors. ‘For’ because the energy and effort that we expend is not just for ourselves, but for something larger. We say ‘more’ because our heart is bigger and so we offer more.”
Fr. Jett also introduced the designs of the season’s medals and trophies, which are actually made from discarded materials such as plastic waste and scrap metal. These are creations by residents in communities engaged by Junk Not, an organization that seeks to find creative ways to transform waste into functional pieces while providing livelihood to the marginalized and protecting the environment.
Fr. Jett told the student athletes, “The trophy—if you win it—you will also win this for a community in Marawi. You will win this for a community in Taal, and a community in Biñan because they made your trophies and medals out of recycled materials.”
The traditional Oath of Sportsmanship was made more meaningful when Junior World Cup bronze medalist Maxine Esteban and other national athletes who are competing in the South East Asian Games (SEA Games) went onstage and led their peers in making the pledge.
Several students and alumni of Ateneo were involved in the UAAP Season 82 opening. Aside from Maxine, there were former Lady Eagle Gretchen Ho who served as emcee, DJs Mark Marasigan and Katsy Lee who played music during the parade of athletes, and the Ateneo Drumline, Buganda, Company of Ateneo Dancers and Blue Babble Battalion Cheerdancers who performed in a dazzling nonstop 11-minute interactive light-and-dance production number.
For the finale, the theme song “Ang Ating Tagumpay” was performed live by the Itchyworms, Spongecola and Karylle—all alumni of Ateneo. A couple of student-athletes from different schools sang along with them.
Rich Ilustre, also an Atenean, was the director of the entire show.
In a rare instance, there was no basketball game that followed the opening; instead, there was a concert that featured the Itchyworms, Spongecola, December Avenue, Autotelic and IV of Spades.
UAAP fans didn’t seem to mind the absence of an opening basketball game. A number of those who watched were pleased. June Narciso tweeted, “What a superb opening ceremonies. This is how the season is supposed to start – a celebration – a perfect send-off to all the student-athletes. Great job, Ateneo.”
Sheila Yulo rejoined, “The way kung paano ginawa ng Ateneo ang opening for UAAP Season 82 is really how it should be – every school were in such celebration and sending their student-athletes with such pride. Kamiss maging student athlete.”
In a comment on Facebook, Karylle shared with Rich how she felt after the show. “One for the books! I feel so good. Di pa ako makatulog.”