Posted by: theboyfromsmallville | October 4, 2006

I really hate to gloat, but…

Maybe we forgot.
Maybe we needed to be reminded.

We should have seen it coming when Milenyo came frolicking along the coconut-lined boulevard at the edge of the sunset-famous harbor and continued into the city, destroying everything in its path, shutting down businesses and forcing the postponement of several events scheduled that day.

But we didn’t.

Someone Up There decided to tie a golden yellow ribbon round the old oak tree in our minds.
Just in case we forgot.

Forgot what?

Forgot that 10 years ago, it was written into history that UAAP titles are not won on the basketball courts alone.
They are won inside the hearts of the players battling it out for every little inch of court space just to get that tiny break that would change the tide.
They are won inside the hearts of people who believe that if faith can move mountains, it can also bring down the mighty.

Someone Up There reminded us that in a time when we easily reach for doubt, when we easily fetch the darkest of images to define our milieu, there is always a better alternative.

We can, for one, always remember the Tigers.

You know. The team which, in 1996, showed what faith is capable of. Or did time blur the images in your mind to beyond recognition?

Ask yourself, what kind of cosmic accident could have caused Milenyo to trip over the country on that particular day, coinciding with Game 2 of the UAAP finals? That could have been easily the day Ateneo crowned itself champion.

But no. Someone Up There made us wait. To build up the suspense? To give the Tigers a chance to think things over after a razor-thin loss to the Eagles in Game 1? Maybe. Or maybe it was just to show who’s in charge?

We will never know.

All we know are these:
That the Tigers were hardly mentioned in the preseason except as a punchline in basketball chit-chats.
That the hiring of Pido Jarencio was deemed one big joke.
That the team’s best player, a happy-go-lucky big man who polishes off rebounds and scores on short stabs as easily as he flashes a mega-watt smile, is technically a rookie.
That the team’s most potent scorer was decommissioned for the season by a freak knee injury.
That the team’s starting point guard cannot shoot straight from the stripe even if you held a shotgun to his face.

If ever there was a team you could count on to finish last in the season, this was it.
If ever there was a team that Someone Up There could use to prove a point, this was it.

The point being: This was not just a team of fate.
It was a team of faith.

Ateneo fans grumble at the notion that Divine Intervention had something to do with Santo Tomas’ victory in the UAAP men’s basketball championship. That faith had anything to do with the Tigers accomplishing the most improbable feat in UAAP history, winning the title against a powerhouse squad via a deciding third game even while playing without their 1-2 punch down low for the last six minutes of that match.

After all, they claim, Ateneans clasped their hands and bowed their heads in prayer too.

Like duh. That’s. Precisely. The. Point.

Maybe the truth didn’t manifest itself in the years between the historic four-peat and this year’s straight-out-of-left-field triumph by UST. But it was there all along, pasted in some oft-neglected corner of our hearts along with other things we hold dear to us but often overlook.

That’s why, in retrospect, the Eagles never stood a chance. JC Intal, Doug Kramer, Chris Tiu, Norman Black and a multimillion war chest notwithstanding

And it wasn’t just because Jervy Cruz was too dominating. Or that Jojo Duncil’s will simply could not be denied. Or that Dylan Ababou, Jun Cortez and the rest of the Tigers believed that John Lee Apil, a teammate who passed away in April trying to save two kids from drowning, refused to cross over to the other side until he saw the team—his team—win the title.

It was that and more.

Maybe we forgot whose favorite team the UST Tigers are.
Maybe we needed a triumphant reminder of what was written into history a decade ago.

God is a Thomasian.



  1. lintek! pwede bang ibalik ang panahon? sa UST na lang ako magka-college maski na sa UP. hehe! nakaka-inspire naman ‘tong blog na ‘to. inggit tuloy ako. bakit sa UP walang ganyang klaseng experience?

  2. it’s really hilarious how people from other colleges look down and pity UST for not being the best-est team in the UAAP, and telling that UST is not even one of the top 3 universities in the Philippines.

    As a Thomasian, it hurts to hear these things especially if those people from other colleges are talking right in front of you.

    But victory or fame isn’t what counts, right? It’s not by being “a champion in the UAAP” that makes a university powerful. And I agree, it’s in the faith.

    If God didn’t want this year to be UST’s grand year, there will always be tomorrow~ :D

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