‘Sa wakas!’ UP fans who witnessed 1986 title bask in championship glow again

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 13 2022 10:23 PM | Updated as of May 14 2022 02:12 AM

For generations of Fighting Maroons fans who endured more than 30 years of mediocrity, Friday was a time to celebrate. Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News
For generations of Fighting Maroons fans who endured more than 30 years of mediocrity, Friday was a time to celebrate. Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

For the University of the Philippines faithful, the Fighting Maroons’ emotional UAAP title win over the Ateneo Blue Eagles truly capped years of frustration.

A sizable number of UP alumni, those who were already around when the Fighting Maroons won the men’s championship back in 1986, was ecstatic after witnessing JD Cagulangan’s game-winning triple.

“It was a cardiac game! I thought mag-eextend pa ng isang OT. It’s unbelievable, it was like magic. Parang fairy-tale story. Underdog tapos naka-shoot sa dulo,” said Luz Escobil, who was a BS Biology student at UP when Benjie Paras and Ronnie Magsanoc led the Maroons to a UAAP title in 1986.

“It’s unbelievable. We were in a drought for decades and decades. I remember when we won the championship then ipinarada pa sina Benjie Paras, Ronnie Magsanoc on top of a truck. Then parang every year na lang natatalo kami. Magaling ’yung team ngayon.”

Carlo Inon, also a Biology graduate from UP, said he remembered the 1986 team very well.

“I was staying in the dorm while watching then in 1986. Grabe ’yung laro na iyon. Pero hindi namin akalain after 36 years, UP Maroons are champions again,” he said.

Chinky Shah, an Architecture student back in 1986, said she also saw the early UP title win on TV.

She said winning the title was more difficult this year.

“That was historical, but this … I have no words to describe it. Winning against Ateneo in a time like this, we were five points down. Wala na nakahiga na ko eh. I couldn’t take it,” she said.

“Iba ang laban ngayon. Talagang kita mong gustong gusto nating manalo. Iba rin ang kalaban noong araw. Hindi sila kasing hirap kalabanin tulad ng Ateneo.”

Agnes Remulla, a first-year BS Psychology student in 1986, recalled UP’s celebration when Paras and the old UP squad took the title.

“Noon di ako masyadong involved sa basketball, but the feeling na nanalo kami, ramdam mo sa UP. Walang pasok, may parada,” she siad.

“Pero ngayon, leading up to the championship, nanonood na kami, iba ang feeling. Satisfying, masaya, ang ganda ng panalo kasi.”

For James Galarosa, UP’s historic win against Ateneo was a result of years of hard work.

Galarosa is part of the NowhereToGoButUP sports program that backed the Fighting Maroons’ campaign, especially after UP got its first win in years in 2014.

“Sa wakas. 2008 ang student number ko. Ilang zero seasons ang inabutan ko sa UP. Pero UP fight pa rin tayo. Grumaduate tayo, nagtrabaho tayo sa NowhereToGoButUP, eto na ’yon. Champion ang UP Fighting Maroons,” said Galarosa, a Social Sciences graduate from UP.

“Sa game na ’yun lahat ng pinaghirapan namin ng UP community ’yung pagsama sama simula ’yung bonfire ng 2014, ito ang culmination ng lahat ng pagod, luha dugo, sa isang tira na iyon ni Maimai Cagulangan, a legend, brought us the championship.”

Meanwhile, here are some social media reactions to UP's win: