Tag Archives: uaap

Silver (February 2006)

Here’s something I wrote shortly after winning my first UAAP Senior medal back in February 2006.

Finally. Got a silver this afternoon in the hurdles. I topped the overall list of qualifiers (15.85) but sadly, finished 2nd in the final heat. Damn. I was 0.03s away from the gold (Orlando Soriano – 15.72. I clocked 15.75s).

To add insult to injury, I celebrated too early by raising my arms half a meter before the finish line (Note: I actually rose from my dive too early. I did not celebrate early!).


Too early!

That cost me the race since I wasn’t able to outlean the gold medallist, whom I edged out in the same qualifying heat.

Nevertheless, this feels great. How badly I had missed finishing at the top echelons of the field. The cheers of my teammates were incomparable treasures. Seeing them happy because of what I had achieved made this victory a hundred times more sweet.

The Men’s team had a splendid first day, with 3 silver medals (Bryan – 100m dash, John Gregorio – Javelin Throw). In addition, Nina finished second in the 100m hurdles. Three more days to go. The team has to maintain this momentum in order to achieve a podium finish.

Some Photos:


110m Hurdles Heats.


110m Hurdles Heats Results.


Before the start of the 110m Hurdles Final.

Congratulations to the Ateneo Blue Eagles!


Back to the Podium (9 February 2006)

While scouring my old Livejournal for a school paper I wrote years ago, I came across the following post. I wrote it hours after winning my first UAAP medals in the seniors division! More than six year had passed since that moment. I can still feel the sheer adrenaline rush of that day. It’s a pity that we didn’t have fancy DSLR cameras or high-res videos back then. 

At least I was able to express the emotions that I felt through prose.

Finally. Got a silver this afternoon in the hurdles. I topped the overall list of qualifiers (15.88) but sadly, finished 2nd in the final heat. Damn. I was 0.03s away from the gold. To add insult to injury, I celebrated too early by raising my arms half a meter before the finish line. That cost me the race since I wasn’t able to outlean the gold medallist, whom I edged out in the same qualifying heat.

Nevertheless, this feels great. How badly I had missed finishing at the top echelons of the field. The cheers of my teammates were incomparable treasures. Seeing them happy because of what I had achieved made this victory a hundred times more sweet.

Ateneo High School Track & Field UAAP 64 and 65 Championship Plaques

My friend Ralph Aligada posted a photo of the Ateneo High School Track & Field Team’s UAAP 64 and 65 Championship Plaques! It’s the first time I’ve ever seen this and I was truly surprised. Before Ralph’s unexpected Facebook post, I was unaware of its existence!

Read “The Kings of the Track: UAAP 65 Juniors Champions”


Photos from Ralph Aligada

It’s surreal to think that almost a decade has passed since we won those junior titles. Since those days were devoid of social media, our videos and photos were at a bare minimum.

Nevertheless, it’s good to know that somewhere in the hallowed halls of the Alma Mater, our humble feats are remembered.

Jots (6 February 2009)

Culled from my old Multiply account. View the original post here.

Missing the 1st day of the UAAP was out of the question. Even if I did not have leave credits yet, I bravely asked my new boss for permission to leave work early, just to watch my old teammates compete. The 1st day harvest was bountiful, with the team bagging 3 golds, a silver and a bronze medal.

It was refreshingly nostalgic to see my old training buddies, Jotham Manlapaz and Mike Mendoza, in action again. Jots has improved a lot. He starts a lot faster and he snaps his lead leg quicker than the last time I saw him. Mike was his usual cool self: composed yet intense.

Seeing the other hurdlers run, it was obvious that Mike was in a league of his own. His form was just too fluid and his speed too overwhelming for his competitors. Mike was my hands down choice for this year’s gold.

But of course, my two sets of eyes were focused on Jots – my friend and former training partner. Amongst our hurdling group, I felt the closest to the big guy (literally, since I always hitched with him going home!). He was the closest I had to a protege. His faith in my hurdling and my qualities as an athlete was heartwarming. And the respect was mutual. Amidst my then volatile temperament, I looked up to my God-fearing training buddy’s calm demeanor and firm Faith. When he broke the 16-second barrier months before the UAAP, I felt ecstatic. I wanted him to win a medal, to go out with a bang.

But fate it seems, had other plans.

My friend clipped the 3rd hurdle with his trail leg, and fell badly on the track. He was out of the race. I could almost feel his pain and disappointment when I saw him lying face down on the orange track. If life really did have a rewind button, I would’ve clicked it in an attempt to reverse the day’s tragic outcome.

For the next 10 or so seconds of the race, I did not know where to look. On one side of the track, Mike was pulling away from the field. On the other, Jots was immobile. As I saw Mike raise his arms at the finish line, I immediately went to the bleachers near the 30m mark to have a closer look at things.

To my relief, both of Jots’ limbs were intact. Thank heavens, he didn’t fracture any bone (he had torn his hip flexor or some other hip muscle). But the moment he tried to stood up, I heard a scream of pain. It was obvious that my friend’s last UAAP had ended prematurely.

Photo from Karla Lim

It broke my heart seeing him lying on the track in pain and in tears. Why did it have to happen to him of all people? Then again, injuries are a part of sport. That’s just the way things go when you’re an athlete.

To be honest, I didn’t know what to say once I finally made my way to the track. I know for a fact that no words could possibly soothe the frustration that he was feeling. That battle is an inner struggle one has to face – alone.

We visited Jots at the hospital the evening after the accident. He was his usual bubbly self, albeit with a faint trace of gloom. He dealt with the abrupt and unwanted ending not with anger, but with faith. “Our job thereafter is to make sense of what happened and to learn, move on, and be someone better,” said Jotham. “Everything is planned out by Him above.”

Amidst the obvious physical and emotional pain, I’ve never seen a happier, more content man.

Digging Deep

I felt tense watching from the stands. Perhaps it was due to the cold early evening air or the glare of the floodlights. Sheltered from the steadily falling rain by my trusty umbrella, I waited for the men’s 4x400m relay to start.

The grueling event has been the waterloo of Ateneo athletics. Ever since the Ateneo joined the UAAP, it has only won two bronzes – in the mid-80’s and the mid-2000’s – amidst a slew of heartbreaking close shaves with the podium. Despite the resurgence in Ateneo sprinting, the other schools stamped its dominance in the quarter-mile.

Read John Aguilar’s “The Blue Paint”

Maki de Jesus, a bemedalled former juniors standout, had a gutsy start. Running in the seventh lane, the rookie overtook the athlete in lane eight by a good five meters, as the first runner from powerhouse FEU streaked to an early lead. From then on, it was a battle for second place behind the dominant Morayta quartet.

The first baton exchange was executed with fine precision. Joel Magturo, another greenhorn, timed his take-off perfectly with the visibly exhausted de Jesus. The young Joel, a finalist in the 100m dash, held on to fourth place. Three schools – DLSU, UE, UST and Ateneo – were locked in a fierce tactical battle.

Carlos Soriano ran a gutsy third leg. He positioned himself well in the first 200m, conserving precious speed and strength by lurking behind the leading sprinters. As soon as the four-man peleton hit the last bend, Soriano turned on his afterburners. The back-to-back 100m dash champion overtook the early leaders to snatch second place coming into the final lap.

I screamed like a man possessed at Soy’s final burst of speed. Never has an Ateneo team won silver in the 4x400m relay. There and then, I felt my eyes blur as I cheered my lungs out.

Then came JP Azcueta’s anchor leg. From the stands, I saw the determined expression on his face. He took off life a bullet, maintaining the team’s second place position. Coming into the homestretch, I could feel the silver medal coming into fruition.

The dream silver wasn’t meant to be.

DLSU’s Patrick Unso, a bum stomach notwithstanding, ran a superb final 50m to snatch second place. UE’s last runner came hurtling towards the finish, threatening to overtake the decelerating Azcueta. But JP clung on to Ateneo’s first 4x400m medal in six years. After missing out on the 4x100m relay podium; Maki, Joel, Soy and JP struck back with a hard fought, well-deserved bronze. It was an exhilarating race – a scintillating, nerve-wracking experience for the spectator and an unforgettable experience to those who were victorious.

As soon as the JP crossed the finish line, he fell on his knees, burying his face in his hands. In the four days that I’ve watched my former teammate compete, he always seemed to linger at that very spot after every race. This time around, there wasn’t a single trace of disappointment on the grizzled veteran’s rain-soaked face. Instead, JP cried tears of joy, as he took in the wondrously triumphant moment.

There’s a line from “Chariots of Fire” aptly describing the quarter-miler as someone who digs deep. Those four young men ran their hearts out, mustering every strand of willpower possible. Years from now, people probably won’t remember who won the medals, much less the actual results. In the long run, what endures is the experience of giving it your all and leaving everything on the playing field.

Maki, JP, Joel and Soy posing with their medals (Photo from JP Azcueta)

UAAP 74 Athletics Schedule

Here’s the lineup of events for this year’s UAAP Athletics Championships. The four-day event will be held in Ultra on 9-12 February 2012.



Click here to download the PDF version

Thank you to Coach Igor Quodala and EJ Valera for providing the schedule!

Four-Peat! Four-Peat! Four-Peat!

Check out the clip below of the Ateneo gallery chanting “Four-peat.” My friend Gaita took this shot during the Game 2 of the recently concluded UAAP Senior Basketball Finals.

If you look closely (at around 0:17), you’ll see yours truly shouting with the rest of the blue crew!

One big fight!

Ateneo Blue Eagles: Four-Peat Basketball Champions!

I wasn’t supposed to be at the Araneta Coliseum yesterday since I didn’t have tickets. I tried texting various friends for the valuable commodity, but it seemed as if everything was sold out. After my morning class in Makati, I took the bus to the Quezon City, since the MRT was (for the nth time) out of service.

It was a fortuitous, albeit unexpected change of plans.

Still groggy from my usual naps during long commutes, I checked my phone for messages. My friend Adi was asking whether I was still willing to watch. My face lit up! It took a few minutes for me to regain my bearing (I was still somewhat stuck in dreamland), when I realized that the bus I was riding in was slowly crawling towards the promised land itself – Cubao!

I could not believe my luck. This was the first UAAP basketball game I watched live this season – and only the second since college graduation. Perhaps it was due to the age gap between myself and the players on the UAAP lineup. Instead of religiously watching the games on TV, I found the live telecast particularly tame and distant. But then again, the fires of school spirit still burned.

Needless to say, I had loads of fun watching the game with my high school friends. I can hardly remember the last time I watched a UAAP basketball game live with my high school barkada (nine years ago perhaps?). The atmosphere was refreshingly electric, especially when the sea of Blue erupted in cheers.  It was a reunion of sorts, as I randomly bumped into a cacophony of familiar faces clad in the Blue and White.

Aside from a few terse moments at half-time, the game seemed like a walk-in-the park for the Blue Eagles. After leading by a mere point after the second quarter, the Tamaraws suffered a mean shellacking at the second half. Bannered by the super rookie duo of Kiefer Ravena and the seven-foot Greg Slaughter and reliable veterans Nico Salva, Kirk Long and Emman Monfort, the defending champions walloped the Morayta-based dribblers. The bench also chipped in, with Juami Tiongson having a productive stint, notching 11 points in 10 minutes, according to an Inquirer report.


I almost lost my voice cheering at Tonino Gonzaga’s fine defensive stops against FEU superstar RR Garcia! The intensity that he displayed on defense personified the efforts of the rest of the team. From my comfy Upper B seat, Tonino’s no-nonsense, stoically fearsome demeanor was highly recognizable. I just loved the way he banged the hard court, as he manned the tip of the Ateneo defense against the FEU half court set. The true blue Atenean, like the rest of the Blue Eagles squad, meant business.

I had a fun-filled Saturday, watching the Alma Mater reap impressive basketball success in the company of my good friends. Even if I hardly know the players (or most of the young Ateneans at the venue), the fabric of school pride was woven quite firmly.

To the Blue Eagles and the rest of the Ateneo community: Congratulations!

Ateneo Men’s Track and Field Team Makes Historic Podium Finish

“Ateneo Men’s Track and Field Team Makes Historic Podium Finish”

by James Gregorio

Last season, one week prior to the actual competition, former Ateneo Men’s Track and Field Team captain Robert Sargan (IV AB IS) was injured in a freak accident during training. Although the other 19 members stepped up to the challenge to make up for the absence of their prized pole vaulter and decathlete, they missed the mark to a third place finish by only 4.5 points.

Since Ateneo joined the UAAP league in 1978, the men’s track and field team has never tasted a podium finish. The highest that the team ever attained was 4th place in 1982, 2002 and 2005. This year, 20 athletes were ready to go toe-to-toe with their rivals from other UAAP schools in a quest to finally reach the podium.

Click here to read the rest of the post

UAAP 73 Women’s Football: UP vs Ateneo, 1-1 (30 January 2011)

I watched the UP-Ateneo UAAP Women’s Football game last Sunday. For some reason, I just couldn’t prod myself to wear maroon, even if my sister is the State University’s starting goalkeeper. They say that blood is thicker than water. The age old saying proved ever so true, as I found myself cheering for the UP team.

The Ateneo booters dominated the ball possession. They had more attempts at goal, spearheaded by the speedy striker Trinidad (this girl ought to run for the track team). UP’s rare forays into the Blue and White goal were foiled the strong defensive line. The game remained scoreless for the better part of the first 45 minutes. A fierce tackle by a UP booter saw Ateneo being awarded a penalty kick, which the latter easily converted.

Ateneo was up 1-0 by halftime (or shall I say UP was down 0-1?).

The intensity of the game turned up a few notches in the second half. Bodies were flying all over, emphasizing the fact that these girls weren’t pushovers. A couple of lapses in the Ateneo offensive machine prevented the Loyola-based booters from sealing the outcome. But still, UP was unable to hit the back of the net. With the final minutes gradually winding down, all seemed hopeless for the State University.

Well, not for the aptly-named Hope Solis.

The spunky Maroon-clad striker hit the upper left side of the goal from  beyond the goalkeeper’s box.  It reminded me of Cristian Gonzales’ dagger of a goal in the Philippines-Indonesia Suzuki Cup semifinal. Solis’ volley, for a time, flew above everyone’s heads. For once, the vaunted Ateneo defense proved helpless in the face of such a brilliant shot. The UP gallery erupted in wild jubilation.

It was the first time I saw my sister’s team score. It felt strange cheering for UP whilst clad in Blue. Perhaps the outcome of the game signified my mixed feelings.

UAAP Track & Field Championships 2011

Throughout my days at the Hill, I had a total of seven UAAP track & field competitions – two as a junior and five as a senior. From 2001 to 2008, the highlight of each year was the 4-day athletics championships held in Rizal Memorial Sports Center. Looking back after all these years, I can honestly say that the experiences borne out of the field of competition – the ups and downs, the peaks and troughs – had been character-building.

UAAP hostilities will commence tomorrow afternoon. Since Rizal is undergoing a drastic face lift, the organizers had chosen Ultra as the venue. The old Olympic-style schedule consisting of four straight days of events was shelved by adding several days of rest in between the final two days (Jan 26, 27, 29 and 31 are the competition days).

This will be my third time to watch the UAAP as a track & field alumnus. Gone are the familiar faces of my former teammates. Aside from a handful of athletes (now seniors), most of the members of this year’s team are acquaintances, in light of the age gap!

As always, I make it a point to watch the first day – and the 110m high hurdles. With three-time UAAP champion Mike Mendoza’s graduation, the emerging Dean Roxas is the Ateneo’s best bet in the sprint hurdles. The fleet-footed Soy Soriano, arguably the best sprinter to have come out of Loyola in recent years, will anchor the team’s sprinting hopes. Freshman Al Bugarin, the Unigames 2011 shot put gold medalist, is a taller version of Ryan Dalman, whose UAAP shot put record still stands after 6 years.

On the distaff side, the pole vaulting duo of Bettina Maclang and Jam Valenton are forces to be reckoned with. Veteran thrower Mica Sibayan also returns to play out her final year of eligibility.

My First UAAP 200m dash

I stumbled upon the following clip a while back. I couldn’t stop laughing at how slow I was! It was taken during my rookie year in the UAAP Men’s Division. A day after finishing 3rd to the last (17.46s) in the 110m high hurdles (my supposed best event!), I ran the 200m dash.

My 18-year old self ran next to the future Philippine 100m/200m dash record holder, Ralph Soguilon. In 5 or so strides, Waldy overcame the stagger. For a split-second, we were running abreast (at the bend!) before Soguilon switched on his afterburners to the demolish the shell-shocked field!

I wound up 3rd to the last (24.85s) in a field of 24 in the 200m dash qualifying round! Waldy probably ran something in the 21-second territory!

Needless to say, I sucked big time!


My office mates and I caught the first part of yesterday’s UAAP Men’s Basketball Finals  through a grainy streaming link. It was better than nothing. As soon as the clock struck 5, we headed out to a nearby resto with a big screen.

The game was epic, despite dubious calls by idiot referees. I just hate it how sports gambling clouds each and every big game with shades of conspiracy theories.

Watch Youtube clips of Game 2 here

Nevertheless, it was a great game. The Tamaraws fought valiantly after the debacle that was game 1. Ryan Buenafe’s definitively badass three pointer at the closing seconds of the game will remain as memorable as Gec Chia’s last minute heave against UE and that splendid Doug Kramer point-blank shot off a Macky Escalona inbound pass – and more!

Although I never considered myself as a hardcore basketball fan, I can say that I truly enjoy the sport – especially when the Blue Eagles and the Blue Eaglets are playing. The Season 73 Blue Eagles would have to be my second favorite Hail Mary squad since the 2002 Championship. There were no standout stars this season; the veteran members of the team took turns taking charge, having their fair share of the limelight. In fact, none of the big name Ateneo players landed a slot at the Mythical Team.

Congratulations to the Season 73 Blue Eaglets and Eagles!

“The name on the front of the shirt is more important than the one on the back.” – Goal

Additional link:

ABS-CBN article

Video credit:


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