Ateneo scores a three-peat as FEU turns blue

Jourdan Andrew Dunque Polotan is the president of the Ateneo Alumni Association, Cebu Chapter. The color of his blood is not red or pink — it’s blue. Back in 1987, he finished his B.S. Management (Honors Program) along Katipunan Avenue on 100 percent scholarship. He considers those ADMU years as “one of the best times to be in university.” Why? Jourdan narrates: “1983 – Ninoy was assassinated. 1983 – ‘85 Protest Movement. ‘86 People Power. ‘87 Constitutional Commission. 1987: first of our back-to-back victories in the UAAP.”

Last Thursday, “Brother,” as I call Jourdan — one of my best friends from the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP) — was out gallivanting in Manila. Inside the cavernous Araneta Coliseum, he cheered for Team Blue to slaughter the Green Squad. Yes, blue was Ateneo but, no, green wasn’t the usual green, La Salle. It was FEU and the game three days ago was Game 2 of the UAAP Final.

“I arrived in the Big Dome at least two hours before,” said Jourdan. “Cubao was a sea of blue. And most anyone you met in blue would smile at you, as if we were all long time friends. You just gravitated to the restos and coffee shops teeming with Blue Eagle fans — they came in all sizes, shapes and ages. Teachers, students, administration, Jesuits… A nod, a smile, it was great to be part of one big family. You were bound to bump into someone you knew.”

It was Mr. Polotan’s first UAAP Finals live game to watch. “The tickets were always very, very hard to get,” he said. “I asked a friend for a ticket or two. ‘Best efforts’ lang daw. Even before Game 1, I asked to buy tickets to Game 2. I knew Game 2 would be hard fought — the winner of Game 1 would like to finish it there, and the loser would like to extend the series. Three days… two… one day before the game, still no ticket.

“The day before the game, I flew in to Manila for a business meeting. I told my friend that nag leap of faith na lang ko. I was in Manila already. He asked for a few more hours. A few hours passed, and I got a text to call his office. Viola! I had one ticket in the Patron Section at the original price of P300.

“On the morning of game day, I had one more meeting then I rushed to Ateneo to pay and pick-up my ticket. On the way, I called one of my professors and asked him out to lunch. Of course, he said yes. Him and his wife, dear friends of mine, treated me to a Japanese lunch just across campus. Sa resto pa lang, you saw families all decked out in blue talking about the game to come. Coach Sandy (one of the assistant coaches) walked in. We said, “Hi coach.” He approached our table, shook hands and we wished him and the team luck. “Tapusin natin ito, coach,” I said. You could see in his face they were ready.

“The noise in the Big Dome was loud. The drums were so loud that you could feel your chest pounding. I sat between two total strangers, both in blue, but it was as if we knew each other a long time. We shared notes about the players and team strategy. We agreed on one thing: it seemed like our team’s strategy was to take out FEU players one by one thru foul trouble. True enough… There were ‘graduates.’”

Jourdan, a sports buff and muscular left-hander like Nadal who adores Federer, saw—from Cebu—Jack Huang and his sons. He also saw a few batch mates… “one of the more famous ones — SC spokesman/administrator Midas Marquez.” He added: “Chito Loyzaga was in the row in front of me. When we won, we were high-fiving.”

Finally, I asked why coach Norman Black, of all his victories, would call this championship–especially Game 2’s 65-62 win—Ateneo’s “sweetest victory.” Jourdan explained: “No super stars. You can say we had ONE HELL OF A TEAM. Can you imagine — not one Blue Eagle was in the Mythical 5? It means no one stood out as a superstar. Everyone was a superstar, a clutch player. You never knew who would step up and carry the team on a particular game. That is why it was so sweet. Our opponents just did not know who to pounce on.”

John Pages

By John Pages

I've been a sports columnist since 1994. First, in The Freeman newspaper under "Tennis Is My Game." Then, starting in 2003, with Sun.Star Cebu under the name "Match Point." Happy reading!

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