Athletes’ excellence, humanitarian spirit celebrated at UAAP 82 virtual closing ceremony

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 25 2020 06:22 PM | Updated as of Jul 25 2020 07:13 PM

Ateneo de Manila University formally turned over UAAP hosting duties to De La Salle University during the Season 82's virtual closing ceremonies on Saturday.

University of Santo Tomas was also officially crowned overall champion, marking the school's dominance for the fourth straight year.

Fr. Jett Villarin, president of Season 82 host Ateneo, said this year's UAAP went beyond collegiate competition.

"We say to this pandemic, we say to the world, we say to all dark forces that are about these days: All for more. This will our rallying refrain," said Villarin, referring to the season's theme.

"Not just for survival, but a new life, a new world that will surely emerge out of this. And we say more. We still say more. Never just less. Always the better choice, always the greater fight. All for more."

No athlete of the year was selected this season which was cancelled in April due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"At the end of it we had a complete season. These athletes trained hard. They are part of UAAP season 82, hindi sila nawala. Nandoon sila," said UAAP president Emmanuel Fernandez.

Among the second semester sports affected by the cancellation are 
Football, baseball, softball, athletics, lawn tennis, 3x3 basketball, and the volleyball tournament in both men’s and women’s divisions.

But UAAP executive director Rebo Saguisag said the pandemic has forced athletes to shine outside the playing courts. 

Some of them participated in volunteer work to help those affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

"It speaks of the values that were taught to them, not only by the UAAP but the individual member schools who comprise the UAAP," he said. 

"The UAAP is pressing the reset button, we will be back stronger than ever."

Some UAAP athletes also bared that the fight continues even after the season's cancellation.

"Hindi naman dito lang natatapos ang laban natin. Di naman dito natatapos ang pangarap natin. So kailangan push pa rin kung ano mang dumating sa buhay natin. Kailangang lagpasan," said Ricky Marcos of the National University men's volleyball team. 

Ateneo Lady Eagle Kat Tolentino added: "To our fellow athletes, I know we're all struggling, I know we're all frustrated probably, just remember we're all in the same situation and that I'm sure sports will come back soon." 

De La Salle's Bro. Raymundo Sulpido, member of the UAAP Board of Trustees who received the ceremonial flag from Villarin, said Season 83 will be a different, challenging fight for UAAP.

"We have to move ahead and we face very challenging times for Season 83. We have to do so with courage and fortitude because many challenges are ahead of us," Sulpido said.

There's no saying when the pandemic will end, this is why, he said everybody's safety will be the league's priority next season. 

"We must plan and play with safety and prudence in our minds so that we do not risk the health and the safety of our members... We are embarking Season 83 with the motto: 'Fully alive champions for life'," Sulpido added.

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website).