MANILA -- All eight universities comprising the UAAP 'rose as one' in the just-concluded Season 85 by returning to a full calendar, with 60 events in 21 sports in the juniors' and seniors' divisions.
With the momentum built after past editions were affected by COVID, the incoming host University of the East will push forward by "fUEling the Future" even more.
"We would like to announce that our theme will be 'fUEling the Future'. We will fuel a brighter future for the UAAP," said incoming Season 86 chairman Dr. Zosimo Battad on Saturday after the closing ceremony held at SM Mall of Asia Arena.
"It will be a tough job. We have 85 years of UAAP tradition to live up to, but with the very experienced sports director (Rod Roque) by my side, I know we can do it, and we are confident that with the support of everyone, we will be able to host Season 86 of the UAAP," he added.
The best way to fuel the future is by adding innovations to the country's premier collegiate league.
Season 86 president Rod Roque revealed on Saturday, moments after the closing ceremony, that the league is indeed looking to include new sporting events in the next edition.
"Well, we have been in talks about the inclusion of additional sporting events. However, it is still in the early stages, and we are still in the process of discussion, so we need to iron out the rules and regulations first," said Roque, who is about to embark on his second hosting after leading UE in Season 77.
"There are other sporting events that will be added to the UAAP, but we have yet to make decisions on those. We will announce in the future what those sporting events are, but they're very exciting."
The incoming host is confident that it will be another successful season for the UAAP, as all eight members always support each other throughout the entire eight months of competition.
Roque shared that their fellow members have already expressed their full support for UE in the next season, which will tentatively open in September.
"My first time was Season 77, and with the help of the seven other member universities, it was a breeze," said Roque.
"On my part, honestly, I don't feel any pressure at all because the eight member schools work together. As they say, they're going to give me their 101 percent support when we start hosting."
UE is already hard at work four months before Season 86, with Battad already forming two committees within the University to oversee the hosting.
There is the overall hosting committee, which Battad will directly chair, while there is also the opening and closing ceremonies committee to be headed by UE Office of Cultural Affairs director Gener Caringal.
Battad has also set an ambitious goal of entering the Final 4 in the men's and women's basketball and volleyball tournaments, while also seeking to maintain their dominance in fencing and judo.
"We will try to make it to the Final Four in men's basketball and women's and men's volleyball. With a very experienced coach in Ai Lebornio, I think we hope to do well in women's basketball as well," Battad concluded.
"Fencing and judo are our strengths, and we will continue to excel in those areas. In tennis, we lost to Ateneo in the Final Four this year, but apart from one player, the rest of the team remains intact, so we will try our very best to capture the men's tennis title again this time."