By Mikee Garcia

Highlighted by improvement off a rebranding year, the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons’ annual Pep Rally was held at the University Theater, Wednesday, August 24.

UP’s varsity teams did crossover performances to hype up the crowd for Season 79 of the UAAP, collaborating with one another as they exhibited their talents.

Notable performances included UPIS student athletes in the Juniors division – a first in Pep Rally history, and the debut of the newest UAAP sport, Ballroom Formation.

Chancellor Michael Tan began his opening speech by recalling how people, in recent years, used to view Iskolars ng Bayan as underdogs when it comes to sports.

According to him, however, a game-changer arrived for the Maroons when a group of alumni by the name of NowheretogobutUP started offering support to the university’s athletes.

Tan said that their combined efforts have really made a difference for the teams in the form of improved facilities, more sponsors and better crowd support, which resulted in better performances from the Maroons.

According to a video aired by NowheretogobutUP, the initiative was born out an assessment of the current state of UP athletes in preparation for UP’s hosting duties of the UAAP last season.

The video highlighted various persisting difficulties such as dilapidated, insufficient facilities and lack of nourishment before games, among others.

Tan also pointed out that UP is the only public university in the UAAP but stressed that the athletes sacrifice just as much of their time as that of any other school in the league. With the help of alumni, he claimed that the UP administration will not be holding back in funding the university’s athletic program even further.

Aside from showing support for the university’s athletes, Tan also honored fallen Men’s Football Team player Rogie Maglinas who was diagnosed with cancer October 2015 and tragically passed away earlier this year. He said that Maglinas had so much love for the sport and his hometown, which kept him going until the end of his bout with his illness.

According to Tan, Maglinas’ eventual passing took a hard toll on both the Men’s and Women’s Football teams but they chose to fuel themselves instead on the field which culminated in a double championship last May. “Ang sarap ng championships natin kasi natalo natin ang Ateneo at La Salle, the second and third best universities in the country,” Tan added.

Tan concluded his speech by saying this season’s athletes carry not only the name of UP but also the honor of the country.

“Ang tagumpay ng UP ay tagumpay ng bayan,” said Tan as he concluded his speech to a thunderous ovation from the students in attendance.

The University of Sto. Tomas will be hosting this season’s UAAP. The opening ceremonies are set to be held September 3 at the UST Plaza Mayor in Manila .#



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