by Yski Rualo and Luis Miclat
Now that the season 75 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines finally began, let us get to know the goals and mindsets of the varsity athletes defending our State U pride this year.
“Change the culture that UP is a walkover win.”
With multiple championships in Xavier University, Jett Manuel has been a valuable guard-forward for the UP Men’s Basketball Team since his freshman year.
Now on his third year as a Civil Engineering student, he is expected to provide scoring and energy off the bench as the team’s sixth man.
Although the team has lost Miggy Maniego, returnees such as Alvin Padilla and Mark Lopez and recruits such as Raul Soyud and Henry Asilum give the UP bench better depth compared to last season.
Finishing with a 2-12 record last season, the UP Men’s Basketball Team vows to “do a lot better than last year.”
“Save the best for last.”
Placing consistently in the top four during the past four UAAP seasons, the UP Men’s Beach Volleyball Team had its best finish during Season 72 – finishing third.
Mico Lucindo, a fifth year Hotel, Restaurant, and Information Management student and former team captain of the UST Junior’s Indoor Volleyball team, has been at the forefront of this feat.
Now on his last playing year, the skilled hitter vows to make this season the best for the team.
“To excel, less time but more repetitions are needed.”
Since placing sixth in the UAAP last season, the UP Men’s Badminton Team has stressed the importance of proper training and conditioning in preparation for the upcoming season.
Among the team’s recruits is Miggy Leonardo, a first year Sports Science
student and former Palarong Pambansa player from the International University Foundation Academy in Meycauayan City, Bulacan.
With the same coaching staff and a revised training system, which focuses on the importance of repetition of drills, the team is all set to soar to greater heights during this UAAP season.
“We want to get back our championship.”
After winning the back-to-back championships with the women’s swimming team in 2010, the UP Men’s Swimming Team failed to defend their achievement, only placing fourth at the 2011 UAAP swimming event.
Since then they have revised their training to focus more on workouts. Also, instead of each member training for all events, they now train according to their individual strengths.
The team has also recruited Ateneo Junior Tanker standout Gabe Castelo and long-distance open-water swimmer Nikita Dacera. With the addition of these prized rookies, they strongly believe in regaining the top spot this year.
“We are going to end this season placed at the top.”
UP Men’s Table Tennis Team captain Owel Cacao strongly believes in his proclamation. A fourth year Special Education student, he said the team has new tricks up their sleeves.
Despite finishing last season out of the final four, the team was able to get back in the victory zone in the Filipino-Chinese Invitations and the National Games, landing in the second place in both tournaments.
Cacao credits these achievements to their improved training program, with more training time, more tactical developments, and a new training program every week. The pre-season success gives them the confidence boost they need for UAAP.
“We are going to be the champions this year. If we do not finish as the champions, then we will finish as the first runner up.”
Karlo Ngitngit commended the more stable training program of the UP Men’s Taekwondo Team for the upcoming season. Chosen by his team members as their strongest contender, he certainly embodies the spirit of a champion.
Receiving his black belt when he was in elementary, this fourth year Sports Science student was not able to use his talent much during his years in the UP Integrated School due to a lackluster taekwondo program.
Now competing at the college level, he has helped the team place third twice in the past three years. Together, they plan to push it even further this season.
“We will get into the top three this year.”
Miguel Pangalangan, a third year Speech Communication student, is all set to contribute to the UP Men’s Judo Team’s campaign for a better finish. His three older brothers were part of the team as well, so he hopes to carry on the family tradition.
Ever since he was in the UP Integrated School, Pangalangan had often gone abroad to participate and win in various tournaments across the globe.
Finally making it into the lineup this year, his experience will surely help the team climb to the top.