Boxing, bowling and billiards are just a few of the many sports Filipinos have excelled in. Because of their increasing popularity in the country, names such as Manny Pacquiao, Paeng Nepomuceno, and Efren Reyes have become news staples in many mainstream broadsheets.
But despite their unquestionable popularity, these sports continue to remain in the sidelines of the collegiate sport action.
Not so easy
Pacquiao’s success in the world-boxing arena has grown a great deal of interest in boxing, which has encouraged many entrepreneurs to establish their own boxing gyms.
But despite a growing interest in boxing even amongst the Lasallian community, DLSU has no means to cater to its growing number of boxers. In addition, boxing is not a recognized sport in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), arguably one of the most popular collegiate sports league in the country.
Bowling also suffers the same predicament. Well-known bowler and a Lasallian himself, Nepomuceno has contributed to the public’s interest in bowling. Moreover, Nepomuceno has made the sport popular amongst the youth through his summer sports programs, which has created some of the best Filipino bowlers the country has ever seen. Some of them are recognized internationally and heralded as the next Paeng Nepomuceno.
The sport has also continued to gain ground throughout the country because of the growth of bowling alleys in major malls. This has allowed many to develop a healthy curiosity, and eventually enthusiasm for the sport. Just like boxing, the UAAP and DLSU do not provide clubs and events for bowling aficionados.
When it comes to popularity and growth, billiards is always on the top of the list. Billiards is a sport that has taken the country by storm. A wide selection of billiard bars have established themselves across prime malls, street corners and barangay halls. The sport has become popular because of the pleasure it gives after a bustling day. While DLSU has its fair share of billiards enthusiasts, the sport is not recognized and does not have a place in the UAAP.
From a board member
UAAP Board Member Edwin Reyes explains that sports such as boxing, billiards, and bowling do not exist in the sports roster of the league because of financial concerns.
Reyes explained, “Right now since not all of the sporting events have been filled up by the schools, we’re not bent on opening or putting in other events because it’s too expensive especially for the schools to maintain and administer. I have seen how it goes.”
He also shared that maintaining and providing proper administration of these sports will be a huge burden on the financial capacity of the league.
Reyes also explained that the availability of training equipment, venue, officials for the sport, and participating UAAP schools would have to be considered.
Reyes lamented, “Even we [Lasallians] will not support any new events in the UAAP. And if ever we do the funds of those clubs will be funded by its members, [it will be] self-supporting.”
Future UAAP events
At present, the chances that the UAAP would introduce another sporting event are slim, but Reyes explained that the league won’t shut its doors for universities that would opt to develop and enter into the aforementioned sports.
To add a sporting event in the UAAP, the following conditions must be met. Four or more universities need to have a complete roster for the sport, and the sport needs to have two to three years of demonstrations and pending application for the UAAP. After, the UAAP board will then evaluate the sport based on its emerging fan base and the UAAP members’ capacity to sustain a program for sport in question.
Reyes also shared, “I fully support the existence of those sports since it has a different impact, and you can make it as a part of the PE program too. You don’t big space for it plus the sports are also for wellness and health. But then again, it’s not going to be my call to make it happen so if only there’s an opportunity, then I say we should go for it.”
Sentiments of the OSD
Sports clubs such as billiards, boxing, and bowling do not exist inside the University for a reason. Alex Depante explained that for a sports club to exist in the University, students need to organize themselves into a club that will meet the standards of the Office of Sports Development (OSD) for accreditation.
Depante furthered, “For a sports club to be born, students must practice their right to form or organize a club that can exist inside the University. And then a group of Lasallians can ask accreditation from us, for example a billiards team. So it’s simple, it’s a student initiated thing and not the OSD. That’s why you haven’t seen any of those clubs around the University.”
The future, though, is not bleak for students who are interested in pursuing the formation of the different sports clubs. The OSD maintains that it will provide support to Lasallians who have the initiative to form different clubs as long as there is a sustainable student interest in the sport.
Depante ended, “It really boils down to student interest, and then our job is to determine if we can develop the club and give them opportunities plus the factor of sustainability since the OSD does not want clubs to be abolished due to the fact that students who started the club are graduating.”
Presently the OSD is occupied with DLSU’s chase for the UAAP General Championship but as Depante explained, “The OSD is open; we just need the initiation and request of the students. Although as of now it is really hard since first it’s still the UAAP season. And second we’re still running for the GC so that’s why the OSD’s attention is just focused on that. But definitely we’re open to students.”