August 10 marked a historic occasion for the UA&P community as the school hosted for the first time the Women’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (WNCAA), the country’s first and only tri-level league for women, which opened its 44th season with a bang at the PhilSports Arena.
After the parade of the flags of all 17 school-members and the singing of the National Anthem, the hosts (M.A. Humanities student Laika Pantaleon and A.B. Political Economy student Nicollo Ordoñez) welcomed into the court Ms. Vivian Manila and Br. Bernard Oca, FSC, to award last year’s winners. Ms. Manila is the president of the WNCAA, and Br. Oca is the president of De La Salle Santiago Zobel School, which hosted last year’s WNCAA season. Centro Escolar University bagged first place overall in the seniors’ division while St. Scholastica’s College Manila and Philippine Women’s University tied for first runner-up, and Miriam College was second runner-up.
In his short message, UA&P President Dr. Jose Maria Mariano introduced a cheer chant that serves as a gift of the UA&P community to the WNCAA, a form of service of a fairly new member of the association. He explained how this chant revolves around the excellence of the athletes—how their excellence contributes to the excellence of the team and how all of the teams from different schools unite and contribute to the excellence of the league, thus achieving unitas in sports.
After the UA&P Chorale sang the WNCAA hymn and UA&P Women’s Basketball Team Captain Camille Lim led the Oath of Sportsmanship, the hosts presented the chant led by the UA&P Drumline. As the chant ended, the lights went out, ethnic music started playing, and dancers from Planet Zips began twirling their poi in a stunning first act.
The UA&P Firestarters and the San Beda Alabang Red Lions Pep Squad then wowed the audience with their acrobatics and synchronized moves that at one time spelled out “WNCAA” and “UNITAS”. The aerial silk performance by Dina Ibarrientos Magat from AirDance Philippines gave the audiences a breathtaking change of pace from all floorwork. The two cheerdance groups again took center stage and, with lights on their hands, created a spectacular light show for their finale.
To officially start the games, Dr. Mariano led the ceremonial toss between the CEU Scorpions and the RTU Lady Thunders to open the first of the three basketball games that followed the opening ceremonies.
The WNCAA has heralded women and their outstanding talent in the field of sports, be it in the midgets, junior, or senior divisions. In October 2009, the basketball and volleyball teams of UA&P won championship titles, and just last season, the UA&P Firestarters grabbed the championship in the cheerdance competition. As of the moment, the University supports teams in basketball, futsal, volleyball, table tennis, and cheerdance.
UA&P’s proven success in hosting the 44th season opening, thanks to the hard work of the Center for Student Affairs and student volunteers, affirmed the University’s standing in and commitment to the sports community.
ONE TEAM. ONE LEAGUE. ONE GOAL. UNITAS!