Limits to justice
February 28, 2012
February 28, 2012

The University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) is one of the most popular collegiate leagues in the country, but its General Championship (GC), the award given to the best performing member-school has a reputation contrary to the league’s popularity.

It is usually basketball, the rivalry between Ateneo and DLSU, and the improving performance of the underdogs that are the topic of discussion amongst sports experts and fans as another season starts each school year – it is not the GC. Some of my friends and colleagues from this University does not even know that such an award exists.

 “Finally, some hope for the Green Archers next season with new coach Gee [Abanilla] and Jeron Teng.” “When is the championship match of the Lady Spikers?” These are usually the questions I hear from my peers.

The UAAP general or over-all championship is awarded to the member-school that garnered the most points at the end of the season. A championship in a sport racks 15 points for the University represented; a bridesmaid finish registers 12, and third and fourth placers garner 10 points and eight points, respectively.

Six points, four points, two points and one point are awarded to the bottom four participants accordingly. None participation in a sports event weighs no points.

After fifteen sports events, which are divided into the first half and second half of the season, and excluding one UAAP hallmark, the cheerdance competition, the scores are tallied and the GC is given to the school who have garnered the highest score.

Currently, the Green-and-White squads are behind sports powerhouse and 14-peat GC seeking University of Sto. Tomas (UST) in the GC race. We rank second, only 27 points short of UST’s tally. The statistics may seem that we are vying for the GC, we really are, but the students really do not care about the GC, worse, they do not even know about it.

For some who do know about it, the GC is just another trophy that is heavier and more prestigious the Men’s basketball trophy or Women’s volleyball trophy, but it stops there. It is just another award, it is not getting the same attention and popularity the two aforementioned sports are enjoying.

When the basketball season is over, many think that the UAAP season is already over, some also think that the school which won the basketball event is the most outstanding team of the league. Rivalry aside, Ateneo won the Men’s basketball event, but they rank third in the over-all championship tally, 22 points behind DLSU.

I was able to show the current ranking of the GC to some of my Lasallian friends. They were surprised that such a ranking exists and most of them said that the UAAP should also prioritize the other sports in terms of publicity, to garner more support from the public.

Only the complete season of the men’s basketball and women’s volleyball games are broadcasted live on tv. Highlights and championship matches of other sports such as badminton are being aired already, but if only two out of the 15 sports events are made accessible to fans and patrons, the unpopular sports and the GC, in general, will be left on the sidelines.

The lack of publicity of other sports events is an obvious issue, but the difficulty of developing a fan base is another issue. Only the sports events being televised develop a following.

The UAAP does not have its own media arm to televise games of other sports events. It only has ABS-CBN as its media partner, which would want to cash in big – a business organization’s main objective. Admittedly, only the basketball and volleyball games garner such profitable patronage.

Thankfully, football has caught the attention of many sports fans – away from basketball and volleyball. Other sporting leagues such as the Fil-Oil games and the Shakey’s V-league are slowly acquiring fan bases. Television made them popular.

Hypothetically, let us say that all UAAP sports events are televised live. All sports have a fan base and the GC is the highly acclaimed trophy. We are just 27 points away from the GC, and we still have five sports left to play.

Led by undefeated teams like the Lady Spikers, Lady Woodpushers, Green and Lady Tennisters, it is still possible for the DLSU teams to pull off a last minute championship run.

The rest of the Taft-based squads are also performing well, with the Green Batters, Green Woodpushers, Lady Booters and Green Spikers jockeying for higher spots in their respective fields.

The GC race is still on. DLSU could still win the GC this year.