Miss Universe Philippines defends Rabiya's performance: 'That’s part of her projection'

Mario Dumaual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 17 2021 04:23 PM

Miss Universe Philippines Rabiya Mateo appears onstage at the Miss Universe 2021 Pageant at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on May 16, 2021 in Hollywood, Florida. Rodrigo Varela, Getty Images/AFP

MANILA -- Miss Universe 1973 Margie Moran has added her expression of felicitations for the Top 21 finish of Rabiya Mateo at the 69th edition of the Miss Universe pageant on Monday (Manila time). 

“Congratulations to Rabiya Mateo for making it to the Top 21. I appreciate how you presented yourself on stage. You are Miss Philippines, and you make us proud, “ Floirendo said in her statement to ABS-CBN News. 

Miss Universe Philippines (MUP) franchise executive Albert Andrada is also elated by Mateo’s performance. 

“We are still proud of Rabiya. Winning the crown is important but the more important thing is she performed well for the Philippines," said Andrada, who heads the design council of the MUP. 

“Nakita naman natin kung paano siya lumaban," Andrada added, citing the many challenges in Mateo’s pageant journey. 

He also disputed fans’ concern that Mateo appeared nervous at the Top 21 swimsuit competition Monday. “That’s part of her projection," he explained. 

Veteran pageantologist Jeff Fernando said there was nothing amiss in the detailed preparations of Mateo, from the question and answer training to the curation of her wardrobe collection. But she looked jittery at the swimsuit segment, according to Fernando,
echoing the observation of fans. That moment probably cost her points. 

In his analysis, seasoned pageantologist Norman Tinio said Mateo did no wrong in the competition where a hairline margin could spell a big difference. “The only thing that mattered was to score high enough in the swimsuit to get to the top 10 level. The scores of the finalists were perhaps too close,” Tinio said. 

“Walang mali sa mga ginawa ni Rabiya. It was a mathematical issue of close scoring!” 

Tinio qualified that the game could have changed for Mateo and other candidates if they were given two segments to further prove themselves to the judges. What if the top 21 also wore their evening gowns after the swimsuit round, he wondered. “ But there was no second round that could probably lift their scores,” he said. “It only means you won’t advance to the next top 10 level if you are not in the top tier scores of the judges!” 

But that is already in the realm of what ifs and what could have been, said Tinio. “Asking what happened to Rabiya is also like unfairly asking also what happened to the delegates of Romania, Canada, South Africa and other top contenders!”

For Andrada, the big lesson for candidates is that it is not the gown that makes a contestant. Several candidates with publicized fabulous gowns, he noted, did not even make it to the semifinals. 

“It is not the gown, it is you, your value and your performance that will ultimately make you shine," he said, citing the crucial question and answer sessions with the judges. 

But if there’s one thing Andrada wants to reform is the management of a candidate’s social media. “Siguro dapat i-regulate na natin next time, huwag na nating ipahawak 'yan," he told ABS-CBN News, citing the disturbing noise and unnecessary tension created by the internet. 

Tinio totally agrees. “To cry on Instagram live?! It’s not Rabiya’s character. Why apologize for the national costume presentation when it was not even her fault!” 

In her social media tribute to Mateo, Miss Universe Philippines national director Shamcey Supsup called her “a winner in the hearts of millions of Filipinos with her relentless, unyielding and unstoppable pursuit of her dreams, wearing the Philippines sash with love and pride, despite critics and failures.”