The high-level competition, immense action, intensity, joy, and tears are only some of the things that fuel the UAAP. However, a large portion of what actually brings life to the league is the respective community of each university. Families, in particular, have supported sons, daughters, and relatives who have participated in the country’s most prestigious collegiate league. If not, it’s the school pride that drives them to put on the green shirt and cheer on.
The LaSallian sat down with Dan, Rey, and JC Ibarra during the Green Archers’ most recent game against the Ateneo Blue Eagles to shed light on what has become a favorite pastime for families across the UAAP.
Past versus present
Brothers Dan and Rey Ibarra are both old-timers when it comes to supporting the DLSU Green Archers. Up to this day, part of their family tradition is to sit amongst fellow Lasallians in the games. Whether it is in front of a television set or at the actual venue, the Ibarras pay homage to their beloved University. However, the brothers pointed out some differences. “Well it’s less violent ngayon. I guess kasi with the co-eds, hindi na masyadong personal-an ngayon. This was during the 70s. Malaking bagay yung madaming co-eds. Kasi that time, exclusive boys school lang yung both schools [Ateneo and Lasalle],” shares Rey before the classic rivalry match.
The Ibarra family sat tight, anxiously waiting for the Green Archers and the Blue Eagles to send the game into regulation. Dan briefly compares the style of play the teams display nowadays, “Mas civil na kasi ngayon. The students are more respectful [of] the other team. Even if the players are on the court, they’re more respectful of each other’s ability.”
During its early days, the NCAA basketball games were usually associated with violence—both from the players, and their peers. This attracted a large number of followers who thought that the heat between two teams translated into school spirit. “It (the games) was very much passionate before. It’s just as passionate now, just lesser violence,” Rey recalls.
“I’ve seen the rivalry since the 70s. As of now, it’s probably even. I think both teams have an excellent chance of winning. They probably have an equal footing. That makes the game more exciting; you never lose it through the years,” Dan shares.
The brothers shared that watching games live has been a good way of bonding for the whole family, considering the atmosphere in games is much more peaceful nowadays. Today, watching UAAP games is now more than just watching basketball games, but also a way for family members to bond and show support for their alma mater, no matter which generation they belong to.
While on the conversation of the La Salle-Ateneo rivalry, JC noted that they have been seeing a lot of instances where families both have Lasallians and also Ateneans under the same roof. This indicates that the hostility between the alumni of both schools is now a thing of the past and that the intensity behind the classic basketball games is just out of friendly competition.
“When it’s basketball, it’s a different thing. Outside the court, we’re all civil,” furthered JC Ibarra.
It’s a swell sight for anyone who loves the game, with sportsmanship displayed at its very best. From respective teams to their loving supporters, the UAAP brings together a widespread community that applauds competition, rises from defeat, and sustains victory.
Without a doubt, UAAP basketball games have served as an integral stepping stone for future stars. Players have done their time on the hard court, battling out with giants from other teams. But on a more serious note, the league’s supporters walk past arena doors with a distinct feeling only a die-hard fan could describe. It’s the identity that fans take away from each and every game, the innate feeling of school pride and honor that marks a true member of the Lasallian community.
From the dark and gritty past of the UAAP in the 70s, to the thrilling finishes the fans witness season after season, the UAAP boasts a rich heritage 78 years in the making. UAAP games have now become more than just basketball games, but also an avenue of school spirit across countless generations.