Athletes take center stage in UAAP season opener

By Olmin Leyba, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 05 2012 03:37 PM | Updated as of Jul 05 2012 11:37 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The spotlight will fall solely on the participating athletes – not the usual sports personalities/ invited guests – when the UAAP unfurls its 75th season on July 14 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

According to UAAP Season 75 secretary-treasurer Junel Baculi of host National U, the league decided to do away with inviting special guests/sports personalities so as to make the athletes the center of attraction for the rites beginning at 1 p.m.

“We’ll have no special guests because we want to make the opening athlete-centered,” the NU athletic director said during a get-together with scribes yesterday.

Team captains of all eight universities competing in the UAAP’s 28 events will march around the playing area of the brand-new arena, also a deviation from the previous practice of only basketball players and their muses participating in the parade.

“Well, last year, all UAAP players marched but this time, only the team captains will participate in the parade because the MOA Arena can’t accommodate all of them, unlike the Marikina Sports Complex (site of 2011 opening),” Baculi said.

“We’re doing this so as all sports will have representation in the opening ceremonies,” he added.

NU’s very own Anna Christine Patrimonio has been tapped as master of ceremony for the hour-long rites. Patrimonio, daughter of PBA legend Alvin, is undergoing residency before playing for NU’s tennis team next season.

The host school, added Baculi, is preparing a colorful sound and lights show to usher in action in Season 75, which will have the theme “Unbreakable at 75.”

NU Bulldogs and University of the East Warriors tangle at 2 p.m. to kick off hostilities, while University of Santo Tomas and Far Eastern University collide in the second game.

On Sunday, also at MOA Arena, it will be the turn of fancied Ateneo de Manila University to open its “drive for five” against Adamson in the main game at 4 p.m. after the 2 p.m. curtain-raiser pitting De La Salle University and University of the Philippines.