Every fan has their own choice of player who serves as an idol or inspiration in life, while every player has their own team to rely on to achieve their goals. Behind the success of the numerous teams in DLSU, though, lies the effective management of the Office of Sports Development (OSD). The OSD’s main objective is to take care of the overall well-being of student athletes in order for them to concentrate on excelling in academics and playing for the school.
Although the OSD also supervises sports clubs in the University, its main focus is on the varsity teams participating in the UAAP. It offers logistical needs by providing its athletes with essential goods to compete, as well as counselors to supply their psychological requirements. The present executive director of the OSD and a current UAAP Board Member, Emmanuel Calanog serves as the head of the overall supervision of the athletics program.
The board members of the UAAP conduct monthly meetings to ensure the efficiency of the tournament and to avoid problems that may arise. Calanog compares the preparations of the UAAP to the schedule of the trimestral system of La Salle due to the heavy requirements needed to run the tournament. “Technically yung break ng UAAP is just like the break of La Salle students during the second and third term. It’s just a little over a month and then pasok na ulit,” he says.
Hindrances in the OSD and UAAP
Throughout his five years of position in the office, Calanog identifies some problems in the OSD—financial problems, and being able to retain the competitive atmosphere of La Salle through maintaining and developing players as well as looking for new recruits.
The University has a wide range of budget allocations, some of which include academics, facilities, faculty, and many other things beyond sports. “The main challenge is to be able to find enough financial resources to run an effective and competitive sports program, so we need to look for supplementary funds from the outside to be able to fund all our requirements,” stresses Calanog.
On the other hand, the UAAP officiating and trying to maintain fair play throughout competition remains a constant challenge. At the same time, the effort to increase the popularity of the lesser known sports is also a current struggle.
However, Calanog cites that one way to put the other sports into the mainstream is through the use of more video coverage. The executive director comments as well on the emerging success of women’s volleyball in terms of its appeal towards the audience, as it has become on par with men’s basketball in terms of popularity.
The premiere collegiate league
When asked about what differentiates the UAAP from other collegiate tournaments, Calanog sees it as the most well-known among the others. Indeed, the UAAP serves as the biggest collegiate tournament based from its supporters and media coverage.
“And I guess [because] you also have the top tier schools in the UAAP. If you look at the top schools in the Philippines, you have at least the top four schools in the UAAP, UP, La Salle, Ateneo, [and] UST,” adds Calanog.
As compared to the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), Calanog sees a friendly competition more than a rivalry between the two since both organizations support and develop Philippine collegiate sports.
The UAAP logo’s hidden meaning
The general host is selected on a rotation-basis, although there are times when a school requests to host on special occasions within the university. “At the time leading up to the University’s centennial year, we requested if we could host the year before as part of our promotion. But on regular years [like this one], it is already set,” mentions Calanog.
Likewise, he also pointed out an interesting fact behind the UAAP logo usually unobserved by the casual eye. “If you look at the circles of the UAAP from the top and [going] clockwise, you will notice the assignment of hosting on a yearly basis [as each circle would constitute the school colors of each participating university].”
However, the general host university does not take sole responsibility of foreseeing all sports in the decades-old tournament. On the contrary, the host school would normally only foresee the more commonly followed sports in basketball and volleyball. The other sports are handled by sub-hosts, where the schools talk amongst themselves during the end of each UAAP season to agree on who will handle the different sports. “It’s a collegial decision, you volunteer [to sub-host].”
On impressions and expectations
When asked how he would describe his relationship with the athletes, Calanog would like to be thought of as an approachable parental figure rather than a staunch boss. He says, “Although they call me sir, the relationship is not like an employee-employer relationship but more of a close relative,” he shares. Calanog further explains, “I’m hoping that’s how I come across so that if there is anything that they need, they can always come to me.”
Having over 500 athletes under his auspices, Calanog attempts to know each of them by their first name and go to all the UAAP games. He quips, “I’m a passionate sports person, so as much as I can, I try to be in all the sports. I try to watch all the games. So in that sense, I try to make sure that I know the athletes as much as I can.” His efforts are noteworthy, as he can often be seen keenly observing matches from the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex all the way up to the Smart Araneta Coliseum throughout the season.
After falling short of a consecutive UAAP General Championship, Calanog hopes that the players will elevate their respective performances, but also bears in mind their responsibilities as student athletes. “You expect them [the athletes] to study hard and play hard. They have to put in the work. Discipline, they have to study, they have to train.”
Rest assured, Calanog and the entire staff in OSD are there to guide the student-athletes as they continue to make their marks in their respective arenas.