Following a surprising run to the finals of the recent UAAP men’s basketball tournament, the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons got a major boost with the construction of a spanking new training facility in their Diliman campus.
The Epsilon Chi Fitness Center, which opened its doors to the UP community on October 2, now serves as the training facility of the Maroons.
The gym houses a covered basketball court, which could also host other sports such as badminton, table tennis and volleyball.
Prior to the establishment of the 1,457 square-meter fitness center, the UP men’s basketball team used to train either at UP Gym Annex or at Celebrity Sports Club.
Asst. Prof. Francis Carlos Diaz, chairman of the UP Department of Physical Education and former UP athletics director, said that it was UP Epsilon Chi Fraternity that pushed for the construction of the center.
The UP College of Engineering-based organization, which is a big part of UP’s “Nowhere to go but UP” campaign, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014 and decided to donate a legacy project to commemorate the event.
“Basically, they started the project at the Molave residence hall back in 2015. Molave at that time was just looking to renovate the dorm and its recreational center kasi may existing cemented basketball court doon na di naman fit for varsity, it was actually for dormers,” Diaz said, adding that the facility was not meant just for the UP basketball team.
“Hindi naman nag-emanate ’yan na ginawa just for the basketball team. Mayroon namang business incubator ’yan sa harap, naka-earmark for commercial spaces,” he said.
In addition to the covered court, there are spaces and services provided at the facility, such as a strength and conditioning gym and several commercial stalls. The gym will be placed at the second floor while the stalls were positioned at the front.
The facility, designed by Miss Universe 2011 3rd-runner up Arch. Shamcey Supsup-Lee, was constructed through the help of corporate sponsors.
On Friday, the Epsilon Chi Fraternity hosted a dinner for the UP Fighting Maroons at the new gym following the UP Lantern Parade.
"Thankful kami sa fraternity na nag-donate ng gym at na-timing sa pagpasok namin (ni Kobe Paras), thankful kami for that and sa support na ipinakikita nila kasama ng community," Fighting Maroons player Ricci Rivero said.
Diaz said the Epsilon Chi Fitness Center is part of an ongoing sports facility infrastructure development being undertaken by the university.
“ ’Yung FIFA-certified football pitch gawa na. Ongoing na rin ang construction ng UP track oval na tartan track at bagong grandstand. Across it, naka-subject for government procurement is ’yung bagong baseball at softball field, and ongoing right sa periphery of the UP gymnasium is the construction of a brand-new 50-meter pool,” he said.
Some of the projects, he said are being bankrolled by UP alumni such as like senators Pia Cayetano, Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Edgardo “Sonny” Angara.
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