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UAAP Season 82 is right around the corner and we’re counting down the days until the opening! For this series, The Ampersand looks back on favorite UAAP moments. 

Ateneo vs UST, Finals Game 3 (2006) 

Justin, School of Humanities

This will be a controversial answer especially for most Blue Eagles fans: 2006, Game 3 of the Finals against UST. I remember watching the finals at the lobby of the MVP building. I was just a sophomore then. It was exciting. 

We were already winning, but then the team botched an alley-oop play. I remember asking myself, “Why do that? Sure 2 [points] na lang dapat kesa highlight play.” That play may not have mattered much midway in the fourth quarter. Then we fouled out Allan Evangelista. Then Jervy Cruz. Truly, I thought the championship was in the bag. We were up by 5 points with 80 seconds to go. Then UST came back and the game went to overtime. Then in the last seconds of OT, JC Intal iso’d at the top of the key. He blew by his defender but missed a point blank layup that he used to make all the time. We grabbed the rebound but UST was able to put their hands on the ball too. Jump ball. That goddamned possession arrow rule. Possession arrow went to UST and they went on to win the championship. 

I really believed that we were the better team. But as always, luck plays a big role in a game. Intal kept falling for Duncil’s fakes, and Duncil kept scoring. UST’s Japs Cuan hit crucial free throws ( if I recall correctly, he was 4/12 the entire game but went 3/4 in the OT). I kept coming back to that botched alley-oop play. In my mind, “kung di tayo nag highlight play, at sure 2 na lang, atin na ang championship.” That was the moment I realised that I cared for the Blue Eagles, that I was already an Atenean.

I was a student-athlete for the Judo team back then, but even so, my mind and heart were never fully committed to the other Ateneo teams. Sa judo lang talaga ako. My brothers are  LaSallians and I grew up rooting for La Salle because their uniforms looked cool and green is my favorite color. But in that moment of Game 3, for the first time, I really wanted us to win. I wanted to finally experience the championship my LaSallian brothers experienced. I wanted to be a champion too. But in life, we don’t always get what we want. So ‘yun talo

That botched alley-oop play is my favorite memory. It was heartbreaking but at the same time enlightening. That was the moment I really understood what it means to be an Ateneo fan. To be an Atenean. At ang sarap maging Atenista. Win or lose, it’s the school I choose.

Expectation in Season 82: Champions. Ano pa nga ba? Haha. I believe that we have the best team and we have the best coach. Anything less than a championship is a disappointment.

Ateneo’s 5-peat Championship, 2008-2012

Nats, John Gokongwei School of Management 

My favorite Ateneo Blue Eagles moment was when we won our first 5-peat championship (yes, I’m that old). The five-peat run started in 2008 and lasted until 2012. 

The Ampersand Note: Ateneo became the first UAAP Men’s basketball team to win five championships in a row, with the exception of the UE Red Warriors who were named co-champions in 1967. They defeated their archrivals De La Salle Green Archers in 2008 and avenged their 2006 loss to UST, sweeping them in the finals in 2012.

Expectation in Season 82: Intense competition between UP and Ateneo.  

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