The Timeline of the UP-Ateneo Rivalry Dates Back to the 1920s
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UP and Ateneo’s first encounter dates back to the 1920s when Iskos would troop to Ateneo’s Intramuros campus to play ball with the Ateneans. In an article published in The Guidon, the Ateneo de Manila University’s official publication, Eric Abenojar
“The UP team was already called the Maroons [and Greens] and the Ateneo was then known as the Blues and Whites,” recalls Martin Lacdao, former editor of The Guidon, citing an article on Ateneo rivalries published in the paper’s 60th-anniversary issue. “Varsity athletics took its cues from the American model and there were cheers. The games with UP gave birth to the Ateneo’s cheering tradition. The first school cheer went: ‘Fight! Fight! Blue and White! Go! Go! Ateneo,
The UP-Ateneo rivalry extended to other sports, such as football. In the last six years, Ateneo and UP have faced off in the UAAP Football finals twice, with each school winning once.
UP and Ateneo’s first encounter dates back to the 1920s, when Iskos would troop to Ateneo’s Intramuros campus to play ball with the Ateneans.
Following the universities’ first hoops encounter in Intramuros, the two universities would then enter the NCAA in the 1930s, joining other founding members National University, Far Eastern University, and University of Santo Tomas (UST). During this era, the Fighting Maroons, dubbed the league’s powerhouse team, won a few titles before losing to Ateneo in 1929.
In the 1930s, UP withdrew from the NCAA together with UST to form the UAAP. In 1978, Ateneo would eventually leave the NCAA due to violence and shifted its athletic capabilities instead to the UAAP.
The universities would again meet in 1988 during the UAAP’s 51st season. Ateneo and UP fought it out in the last eliminations game, with the former trumping the latter and consequently bagging a back-to-back championship title (shared with the De La Salle Green Archers).
UAAP's Season 81 Sees the Battle of Katipunan
In 2009, Ateneo was again set to win a championship. During this time, UP, though at the bottom of team rankings, surprised basketball fans by beating Ateneo in a move that also drove out hopes of a blue-and-white sweep for season 72.
Fast-forward to today’s “Battle of Katipunan” where the UP Fighting Maroons join defending champions Ateneo Blue Eagles in the finals, ending a 21-year-long wait for a final four seat. UP has only had three final four appearances over the course of its affiliation with the UAAP.
UP last secured a UAAP basketball championship title in 1986, led by center player Benjie Paras. Ateneo would follow suit, bagging their first championship title in 1987.
“We need to keep fighting, no matter what the odds are,” UP Coach Bo Perasol said in media interviews. “That had been our team principle in this season.”
“[UP is] much more determined, much more cohesive. They understand their personnel,” Ateneo Coach Tab Baldwin said, echoing
Baldwin, however, remains hopeful of another win for the Blue Eagles in today’s meeting. “We can't expect anything less from [the team]. We have to expect a lot more from our defense."
The UP Fighting Maroons and the Ateneo Blue Eagles are set to battle it out in game 2 of the UAAP Season 81’s men’s basketball league today at 3:30 p.m.
This story originally appeared on Esquiremag.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.