UAAP basketball fans talk about why they love their teams

UAAP season is about to end and it’s been a whirlwind of a few months. Not only did we get this incredible Cinderella story that is the University of the Philippines’ amazing run, but we also got action, heartbreak, and surprises from almost all the teams!

But like any sport, the fans are the driving force of all the hype and excitement. With their colorful banners, intense rushes of adrenaline, and passion for the schools they’re cheering on, fans of the UAAP have felt both victory and loss almost as keenly as the players have.

We got to interview a few of them on the hows and whys of their cheering and we loved getting to know them!

Kim Campanilla, Ateneo Blue Eagles fan

Kim has been cheering for the Blue Eagles practically her whole life. “I started watching UAAP games when I was in 3rd grade. This was the Chris Tiu era if I’m not mistaken,” she says, highlighting her entire upbringing in the blue and white. According to her, it shaped her decision to see Ateneo as her dream school: “They might not know it, but the UAAP is the source of a lot of dreams. I would not have wanted to go to ADMU if it wasn’t for them.”

She definitely started young and grew up to watch players graduate and the rookies who would fill in their shoes. It’s been years since she began watching but she still gives her 100% support, digging out all of her Ateneo merch–jackets and shirts–and prepares to cheer at the top of her lungs no matter where she’s stationed in the arena.

“I’m an extension of Blue Babble. I don’t care where I’m seated. Kahit courtside pa yan with all the classy alumni around me, I’ll be shouting [and] cheering.”

And no matter how many games this fan witnesses, she pinpoints a favorite moment: “Whenever it’s tied at the last few seconds. Everyone stands up, gets quiet, and starts praying. I’d be crying! But those moments are just so powerful.”

Francis Tiempo, UST Growling Tigers fan

This fan isn’t a stranger to the UAAP either. “Matagal na ako sa UAAP,” he says. He’s been around since the Jojo Duncel and Cyrus Baguio eras and has cheered his heart out since then. You can often see him at games with his UST banners with his favorite players’ names. “Favorite player ko during that time is Cyrus Bagiuo then Dylan Ababou then batch nila Jeric Teng.”

And though he isn’t technically UST alum, he chose to cheer for them from the beginning–he’s even grown through the seasons watching with alumni! “Kahit di ako graduate ng USTe ka-seatmate ko si Dylan Ababou.”

Despite seeing so many seasons in his life, one specific moment stands out: The Teng brothers at the finals. “Favorite moment ko yung naglaban yung dalawang magkapatid sa UAAP finals, DLSU-UST, Jeron and Jeric.”

As a lover of the UAAP, he tells students to “cheer on their schools so they can win.” He ends the interview by saying: “One for UST!”

Nikki Collantes, Ateneo Blue Eagles fan

It’s not a secret who the favorite player of this fan is! She tries to get a photo with Blue Eagle Isaac Go any moment she can and it only shows her devotion to watching UAAP games–she really is a super fan.

“Since UAAP is from September-December only, I still support my favorite team by watching their other leagues because you can see there the potentials of the players and also the upcoming rookies as well,” she says, noting how she follows even those who might be placed in the team’s roster. That’s dedication!

As a show of her love, Nikki makes sure to always keep the team in her thoughts. “Supporting them by watching all their games live if the schedule permits and cheering and praying for them also,” she says when asked about what she does whenever her team has a game.

Lastly, she greatly believes in the UAAP and its fans. “You can see their love and support during games and even on social media.”

Peachy Natividad, UST Growling Tigers fan

This next fan is Thomasian by blood but didn’t start watching right away. “It’s funny but I did not watch when I was a student–too busy with Med school,” she starts. “I used  to watch sporadically when I was already a consultant, then started watching in earnest when Coach Pido came on board.”

Because she’s seen her fair share of rosters come and go, she tries to learn the names of all the new players every season so they know they’re being supported. “I try to learn the nicknames of the players so that when they shoot their free throws, I can shout “personal encouragement”. We ( a group of doctors who support the team) also try to meet with the team to make them feel our support.” And because you can always spot her seated near the court, we’re sure the players can hear her, too.

She’s also had many picks for her favorite players. “Dylan Ababou, Allein Maliksi, Jeric Fortuna, Tata Bautista. With this new batch of players, I especially like Zachary Huang, Renzo Subido, and CJ Cansino.” She and her co-doctors have always treated the players to merienda and have grown close to them.

Her school pride is unmatched thanks to the “gazillion” UST shirts already stocked up in her closet and how she hasn’t missed a game in years. It doesn’t matter if they’re winning or losing. “I watch them live–win or lose! Last season was rough. I was practically one of a handful left watching them and it was so difficult to see the morale of the boys dip further and further downward. At least we won that last game! It felt like winning a championship! I cried.”

As a hardcore UAAP fan, she says: “The UAAP can be the perfect venue to teach sportsmanship and school spirit to the young ones.”

Katrina Narcida, UP Fighting Maroons fan

Maroon-blooded, this fan has been watching UAAP games on television ever since she was young. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been watching UAAP games on TV with my family. I only started watching live games this season. All I can say is, wala palang makakatalo sa live game. I’ve already watched 5 in a month and they’ve truly been one of my best memories.”

Her alma mater climbing up the ranks this year has also contributed to her coming out to watch the games. But she doesn’t cheer for them just because she goes to UP but because of their “remarkable fighting spirit.” She says: “They’ve proven to us that by working hard and believing in each other anything is possible. Their resiliency this entire season was so inspiring. Whether they won the game or lost it, the team NEVER chose to give up.”

She stands firmly behind the #16Strong of the UP Fighting Maroons and prepares by praying for them. “I pray for my team and lift their games up to Him.”

When asked about her favorite moment during a game, she tells us that it’s when they all come together as a community and sing their school hymn. “When the entire community sings “UP Naming Mahal”. It gives me goosebumps seeing how this team can unite such a huge and diverse crowd. It’s so cool to witness how everyone can just forget about their differences for a few minutes and just choose to support and sing as one UP community.”

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