The Ateneo Blue Eagles, Lady Eagles and Blue Eaglets were presented tonight to the Alumni in a benefit dinner at the NBC Tent at the Bonifacio Global City. Dubbed as "Team Ateneo the Launch" a lot of notable alumni were present in the Php 3,500 per ticket event whose proceeds will be used to fund the athletic scholarships and other operating expenses of the three teams. As we very well know the life of a student - athlete in the Ateneo is quite hard and there are additional costs in making sure that these athletes train and more importantly make the academic grades required of them.
"Okay ka ba tiyan?" Former Blue Babble member and a well known Movie and TV Personality Gabe Mercado was the host together with the handsome Aga Muhlach look-alike- ME! We were joined by Gabe's comedy group named SPIT and at one point Blue Eagle Jai Reyes joined the fray and was also there to interview some people.
The event started at around 7:30 PM as the three teams were introduced one by one and were asked to go onstage. First to be called were the Blue Eaglets, then the Lady Eagles and finally the Blue Eagles. After calling all the players onstage we asked some veterans to speak in behalf of their team. First was the Blue Eaglets Mr. Do it all Senior, JV Dumrique. JV mentioned that this is their year and that the experience they had last year is what they will remember in clinching the title. When I asked who he will rely on to help bring back the crown to Loyola, he mentioned that they are a team and that they will work as one. The Lady Eagles on the other hand promised only one thing, that they will do their best no matter what. Team Captain Treena Limgenco said that they will be giving their best in all their games. The defending champion Lady Eagles lost a lot of players including their coach and have seven rookies in their team.
After dinner, the 1975-1976 NCAA champion team was acknowledged as former King Eagle Joy Carpio together with Pons Valdez, Maling Estrella, and 1988 UAAP Champion team coach Fritz Gaston. Together with them was their Team Manager and now Senator, Mar Roxas. Unfortunately it was only Assistant Coach Gene Afable and Gaston who were part of the 1988 team who were there. Afterwards we called the 2002 Champion team who were there, Enrico Villanueva, Rich Alvarez, Bajjie del Rosario, Sonny Tadeo, Epok Quimpo, Larry Fonacier, Magnum Membrere, Bugs Bugia, Badjie del Rosario, Marco Benitez, JC Intal, Macky Escalona, Gec Chia and LA Tenorio. They offered words of encouragement and gave personal insights on how they overcame the adversities that they faced in that 2002 UAAP season. The most notable comment was what Enrico said, "Dont forget to study hard!" After that, Gabe Mercado's comedy group SPIT performed and elicited lots of laughs from the whole Ateneo Alumni community.
The Ateneo Blue Eaglets, their roster is composed of Chuckie Dumrique, Andro Alonte. Nico Armenia, Keifer Ravena, Ael Banal, Ice Reyes, Von Pessumal, Paolo Romero, Paolo Pe, Al Bugarin, Tim Capacio, JV DUmrique, Ivan Enriquez, Juami Tiongson, Kevin Gamboa and coached by Jamike Jarin.
Ateneo Lady Eagles are with Sam Co, Karen Columnar, Corrine Javier,Teedee Estrada, Win Natividad, Sam Ong, Ish Tiu, Mariana Lopa, Rona Co, Sarah Mercado, Hila Indigne with Anne Gomez and Treena Limgenco as co-captains. The team has a new Coach in former Lady Eagle Haydee Ong.
Finally, the Ateneo Blue Eagles Men's Basketball Team ,the line up is composed of rookies Ryan Buenafe, Vince Burke, Justin Chua, Tonino Gonzaga, Nico Salva together with the veterans Bacon Austria, Nonoy Baclao, Mike Baldos, Kirk Long, Eric Salamat, Oping Sumalinog Rabah Al-Husaini, Jai Reyes,Jobe Nkemakolam and team captains Yuri Escueta and Chris Tiu. Coach Norman Black will call the shots for the fourth straight year.
Good luck to TEAM ATENEO and lets all support the Blue and White this coming UAAP season 71.