‘Community before competitors’: Ateneo president emphasizes inclusivity in UAAP luminous opening

Karl Cedrick Basco, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 01 2019 08:13 PM | Updated as of Sep 01 2019 09:08 PM

UAAP Season 82 is now officially open. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA – As digital lights and music engulfed the entire Mall of Asia Arena, host school Ateneo de Manila University President Fr. Jett Villarin SJ welcomed the UAAP Season 82 athletes with a reminder to always choose better things during the opening ceremonies Sunday.

Facing student-athletes clad in their own school colors, Villarin stressed that UAAP is not just about the mainstream sports such as basketball and volleyball.

“We say ‘all’ because it’s not just ‘some.’ That’s why you are all here. Its not just basketball. It’s not just volleyball. Everyone. All,” Villarin said as he explained this year’s theme, “All For More.”

“We are first a community before we are competitors. We are a team before we are rivals.”

He even asked the athletes to thank their rivals for helping them to transform “not just a better player but a better person.”

Villarin urged the participants from eight-member schools not to be selfish and to direct the efforts to a greater audience and person.

“I hope that the direction of our energy, our effort, our athleticism, is not just for ourselves, not just for our team or school. But, for our country and God,” he added.

He closed his opening remarks by appealing to the athletes to choose the greater option and choice in life for this is the reason why “we say more.” Villarin reiterated not settle with what is okay but to a better thing.

“There are so many good things and so we have to choose the better things, the more loving option, the greater choice. If you are a lover, you choose not just what’s puwede na. You choose the better thing,” he concluded.

The Season 82 opened in a luminous fashion with Ateneo showcased digital lights all through out the ceremonies with performances carefully coordinated with light motions and music. All university presidents opened the Games by pressing a digital button on stage.

Philippine national team member Maxine Esteban in fencing led the oath of sportsmanship. Joining her on stage were other UAAP athletes who are set to don the national colors in the upcoming 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

A concert followed the program featuring Spongecola, Itchyworms, IV of Spades, December Avenue, and Autotelic.

First set of games will start on Wednesday.

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