The University of Santo Tomas is no stranger to hosting grand events: from four Papal visits to hosting of royalties from Spain to its very own annual Paskuhan. Still, the oldest Catholic university in Asia remains excited to host the UAAP Season 79, an event its community takes seriously.
And amid some major tweaks in the opening ceremonies, the “Tigers” look forward to the opening of the major sporting event.
Former UAAP MVP and a part of the Growling Tigers dynasty team in the 90s, coach Chris Cantonjos, said the management’s decision to separate the opening games from the opening ceremonies will lessen the pressure for all universities as they will have more time for the opening traditions.
“Sa akin naman mas maganda yung concept na ganun kasi nga parang Olympic style, nakatuon talaga sa opening, hindi yung nagmamadali tapos magpapack-up kasi maglalaro. At least madaming magagawa at the same time kung ano yung mga gusto at least mabibigyan ng time,” Cantonjos told FOX Sports.
“Hindi kagaya nung time namin na ilang oras lang, more than an hour lang kailangan matapos yung ginagawang performance sa loob. Ngayon yung mga kanya kanyang gusto magbigay ng ideas o gusto nilang mag-perform, meron silang time.”
The UST juniors Growling Tigers coach also said this move will be beneficial for the players, having himself experienced playing a basketball game after the ceremonies.
“Sa player din napaka-stressful kasi nga magpa-parade, so pagdating mo yung time na pahinga mo wala na rin kasi ang aga mong pupunta sa venue e sasalang pa kayo sa opening and then kailangan balik agad sa dugout kasi magpe-prepare na kayo for the game especially pag host ka, ikaw yung first game.”
UST Yellow Jacket, the official pep squad and drumline of the university, president Judd Zowee Usita too does not mind the removal of the games.
“Sa akin hindi naman sya big impact kasi actually para mag-make way din siya para sa opening ceremonies. Kumbaga para mas engrande, para makapag-focus lang muna lahat sa opening. I’m really excited kasi after 10 years na hindi nag-host UST ngayon lang ulit, so I think malaki talaga yung preparation na ginagawa ng UST para sa upcoming na season,” Usita said.
The Yellow Jackets themselves have a big role come September 3 when the 4-century-old university opens its gates to the other seven competing schools, a rare occasion considering how tight security is in the campus on normal days.
Sporting their iconic shaved hairs, the drummers are tasked to lead and play all of the UAAP universities’ cheer, so expect to hear some “Animo!” and “One Big Fight!” in Espanya in the opening ceremonies.
“Kami yung magpe-play ng cheers and beats ng iba’t ibang schools, siguro ang gustong iparating ng UST dun e unity among schools di lang sya labanan ng pride hindi lang naman yung UAAP is about magkakalaban, it is about sports and unity.”
Meanwhile, having served the Royal and Pontifical university for 20 years, security personnel Mario Abrenica said he’s seen it all but he’s still excited as it is the first time UST will host the opening ceremonies inside the campus.
On what the visitors should expect when they enter the Tigers’ lair, Abrenica simply said: “Maraming magagandang bagay sa UST, maraming mamamangha.”