MANILA, Philippines – Olympians Jessie Khing Lacuna of Ateneo de Manila University and Ian Lariba of De La Salle University are more than willing to set aside their school's traditional rivalry whenever they compete for the Philippines.
Lariba is La Salle's unbeaten table tennis star, while Lacuna is Ateneo's "phenom" in the swimming pool. Both athletes set aside their school colors when they competed in Rio de Janeiro last August for the Summer Games.
They were honored for their participation in the Olympics on Wednesday, along with several other UAAP student-athletes who competed internationally in 2016.
"There is no such thing as a rivalry when it comes to being one for the country," Lariba said in an Instagram post.
"Good to see you, 'Khing' of UAAP swimming," she added, referring to Lacuna. "Thank you to the UAAP for this recognition. We greatly appreciate it!"
Lariba was the flag-bearer when the Philippine delegation marched in the opening ceremonies last August.
She also competed in the 18th ASEAN University Games in Singapore, where she captured a silver medal in the women's singles event, and settled for bronze medals in the women's doubles and women's team categories.
Lacuna missed the University Games, but made up for it by competing in his second straight Olympic Games.
The two were also honored as last season's Athletes of the Year, along with Ateneo volleyball star Alyssa Valdez and Adamson University softball standout Queenie Sabobo.
Other UAAP athletes who joined the University Games were also feted. The Philippines took home three gold medals in the event courtesy of athletics and fencing.
National University, the three-time defending UAAP women's basketball champion, won silver, and the Ateneo men's and women's volleyball teams took home bronze medals.
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