By Dale Calanog

Photos by Luis Adrian Hidalgo

After celebrating their diamond anniversary last year, the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) marked the opening of the 76th season with the theme “Greatness Never Ends” at the Mall of Asia Arena Saturday.

With bright lights, tribal music, colorful costumes and jaw-dropping stunts, an electrified crowd was treated to a Hunger Games-inspired production number, courtesy of host school Adamson University. The eight participating universities represented different districts, and showcased their identities in a series of dance numbers.

The last few minutes of the performance saw the eight universities united, dancing their hearts out as a burst of color came from the four corners of the floor.

The crowd again went on their feet as student athletes from the participating schools graced the floor with their own ensemble of Hunger Games characters, coupled with iconic figures from their respective schools. The matatapang at matatalino from the University of the Philippines came out with the famous Oblation, alongside a girl dressed as a sunflower.

The passing of the torch of greatness was the program’s highlight. UAAP and Adamson legends Hector Calma, Olsen Racela and Kenneth Duremdes passed the flame to the student athletes led by Adamson Soaring Falcons’ star player Jericho Cruz.

To formally open the season, Adamson President Fr. Gregorio N. Banaga closed the ceremonies: “let the games begin,” in keeping with the fiction novel theme.

After the opening rites, the Far Eastern University and the University of Santo Tomas both won their debut games against the University of the East and the De La Salle University.

The UP Fighting Maroons will go against the Adamson University Soaring Falcons tomorrow, 2 p.m. at the MOA Arena. -With reports from Luis Adrian Hidalgo

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