‘Ganito pala feeling manalo’: UP community revels in bonfire celebration after rare Fighting Maroons’ win
Hundreds of students, alumni and members of the faculty flocked to the iconic Sunken Garden in University of the Philippines on Saturday night for a bonfire celebration to revel in the Fighting Maroons’ first UAAP win in two years.
UP defeated Adamson, 77-64, to snap its 27-game losing streak dating back to 2012, much to the delight of the Fighting Maroons fans who have long yearned for a victory.
During the party, fans passionately sang the school’s chants as they surround an elevated torch situated in the middle of the Sunken Garden. The crowd were swept into a frenzy when members of the Fighting Maroons arrived and led a short and simple program to thank the supporters.
“After 27 straight losses, nanalo rin. Speechless. Ganito pala feeling ng manalo,” guard Henry Asilum said.
“The victory in general, it’s nice to feel. I’ve started to lose the sense of how the winning feeling was, but I mean all of this, plus the crowd, it added to the feeling, it’s amazing now,” forward JR Gallarza said.
‘It shows kaya natin’
While it was just one win, the victory showed that UP, being the only state university in the collegiate league, can overcome obstacles despite being inferior against the basketball programs of its counterparts, according to chancellor Michael Tan.
“Siyempre one game lang ‘yan but it shows kaya natin e, that’s the most important,” Tan said. “I keep hearing the bottom of the cellar, and it’s good were not at the bottom anymore… at the moment.”
Tan took pride in UP’s varsity athletes, who have to juggle their time between training and maintaining a high academic performance in one of the premier universities in the country.
“Many people don’t know is that we keep a very high standard for players, one player is graduating magna cum laude, they are on engineering, they are in the hard courses,” Tan said.
“Because to survive in UP as a varsity player, you have to have brains and guts and everything. That is not an asset in competitions because it is mainly brawn. Ours have shown that we can have both brain and brawn.”
Gallarza, an education student running for magna cum laude, attested to how tough being a student athlete is in UP.
“It’s hard, it’s a pain in the butt to wake up early for the class and come to the practice with the lack of funds. But you do it because you’re part of the UP community,” Gallarza said.
Dan Palami, the new team manager of the Fighting Maroons, said that what’s more important is the result outside the court.
“It’s a big win out of the pitch na mas importante, the UP community. That’s why andito tayo, to encourage lahat ng sectors (to support). I hope this is the first of our many wins,” Palami said.