MANILA — If Cebu has the CESAFI, Metro Manila has the UAAP and the NCAA. Spelled in full, the UAAP stands for the University Athletic Association of the Philippines while the NCAA means the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
What’s the difference between the UAAP and NCAA? The former is for universities while the latter is for colleges. Right? Well, not exactly, because out of the several NCAA member schools, a few are universities (Jose Rizal University, Mapua University, and Arellano University).
Based on my research, the UAAP schools are bigger: six of their eight members have more than 10,000 students while only four of 10 from the NCAA exceed the 10,000 population.
Why won’t the two leagues combine so there’s one champion for the whole of Metro Manila? This makes sense. It’s too complicated, I’m sure, but in terms of awarding the trophy to the one and only champion, this makes sense.
I was in Manila last weekend to watch my daughter Jana play UAAP Season 80 tennis for Ateneo. Against UP, the Lady Eagles tennis squad defeated the Lady Maroons, 4-1, with Jana scoring a strong 6-1, 6-0 singles win. (The contests include three singles matches and two doubles matches per encounter.) Now on her third year in college, Jana has played on the same venue the past three years: the hard-courts of Rizal Memorial Tennis Center.
After cheering for the Atenean netters last Sunday, we hopped to the nearby baseball stadium where the Ateneo batters were playing UP. We stayed only for a few minutes and witnessed a few hits off the alumimum bats of the men’s players.
Past 4 p.m. two days ago, we sat in the bleachers to watch another UP vs. Ateneo encounter. This trio of games can be called the “Battle of Katipunan” as both campuses are found along Katipunan Avenue.
We watched football. Hundreds of spectators filled the rafters, majority wearing either maroon-colored shirts or blue. Among the notable Cebuanos that I identified as players included King Miyagi (of UP) and Enzo Ceniza and Koko Gaudiel.
The first half was scoreless and, early in the 2nd half, a scuffled ensued as security personnel entered the field to pacify the two heated clubs. Sam Lim of Ateneo was sent off and this led to the Blue Eagles’ having only 10 players on the field. In the 75th minute, JR Borlongan of UP scored the lone goal to win the game for the Fighting Maroons, 1-0.
I called my sports editor Mike Limpag while watching the game to update him of the heated battle. We also talked about the beautiful artificial turf of the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Calling on Cebu City councilors Joy Young (who was the architect behind the Cebu City Sports Center and the rubberized oval’s rehabilitation a few years back), Jun Gabuya, Jerry Guardo, Joel Garganera, Mary Ann de los Santos and our other sports-loving leaders: let’s transform the CCSC into an all-weather artificial grass football field!