Latest Stories

Familiar foes and age-old rivalries



Rivalries exist in many fields of human life, whether in love, employment, or business.

But rivalry is most played out in sports.

A classic example is tennis. Pete Sampras once said about his rival Andre Agassi, “Andre Agassi was my rival in the ’90s, and I think as we got older we sort of transcended the game. He was probably the best player I ever played over my career. There’s a list of players that were tough, but Andre, certainly, he was the most unique.”

Collegiate basketball is not exempt from rivalries.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association and the University Athletic Association are the two most popular collegiate tournaments in the Philippines. Most students who watch both leagues today are not aware that there was a time that UAAP member-schools were once members of the NCAA. In fact,  Ateneo de Manila, De La Salle, National University, Far Eastern University, University of the Philippines and University of Santo Tomas were  founding members of the NCAA.

The last four schools went on to establish the UAAP.  Ateneo and La Salle battled it out in the NCAA, inside and outside the hard court, until their exit in the late 1970s and the early 1980s, respectively. Their transfer to the UAAP was triggered by melees with San Beda and Colegio de San Juan de Letran.

In trying to find the roots of the rivalries of today, I asked several alumni from different schools to paint a clear picture of the rivalry scene during the ’70s and ’80s.

Anton Estrada, an Atenean, said that there was no single dominant school in the 1970s. However, Ateneo won back-to-back championships in 1975-1976 and 1976-1977. In addition, Estrada considered La Salle, Letran and San Beda Ateneo’s toughest competitors.

Loud cheering section

Alberto A. Villarruz Jr., a Bedan cheerleader from 1978 to 1983, said that the rivalry between San Beda and Ateneo was quite evident during his time; the former was the team to beat.

Ateneo, he added, had everything going for it: It had experience and depth, and a loud cheering section.

During the championship games, he said, San Beda could hardly fill up a third of the Araneta Coliseum.  Atenean cheerleaders and their band drowned out the competition, he added.

Today, the Ateneo and La Salle rivalry is probably the best known in collegiate basketball. According to Bobby Rius, a former Ateneo cager, this rivalry went beyond the court—it extended to which was the more prestigious school.

But from the ’30s til the ’70s, there was rivalry between San Beda and Ateneo in the NCAA because they had the most number of championships.

Former San Beda cager Maru Sotto, who played for the Red Lions from 1970 to 1974, said that San Beda’s rivalry with Ateneo was about athletics; it was limited to who had the most number of wins and championships and the better record.

But the Ateneo-La Salle rivalry has gone beyond the basketball court.  It has extended to which is the better school, and which exhibits more school spirit. To put it simply, the Ateneo-La Salle rivalry has become personal through the years.

In recent years, the UAAP’s Ateneo-La Salle rivalry has intensified. In contrast, the NCAA’s only remaining founding member, San Beda, has been left without a rival.

Even today the Red Lions consider the Blue Eagles as their rivals. But since they belong to different tournaments, they only relive their old rivalry during the summer invitational leagues.

Others may argue that Letran or even San Sebastian could be considered San Beda’s rival. But as Alberto A. Villarruz Jr. pointed out, as much as Letran and San Sebastian would like to look at themselves as San Beda’s rivals, it isn’t so, because rivalry is dictated by tradition and historical record.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: 2bu , Andre Agassi , Pete Sampras , Sports

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  2. Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  3. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  4. This is not just a farm
  5. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  6. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  7. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  8. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  9. Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  10. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  1. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  2. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  4. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  5. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  6. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  7. Ever heard of HydroBob?
  8. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  9. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week?
  10. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?


  • Traffic from provinces to Manila light on Black Saturday
  • Sub search for missing plane to be done in week
  • Gloomy weather on Black Saturday–Pagasa
  • Mixed feelings for Gabriel Garcia Marquez in hometown
  • Korea ferry captain arrested, divers spot bodies
  • Sports

  • Duke’s Rodney Hood joining Jabari Parker in NBA draft
  • Phelps entered in 3 events at comeback meet
  • Boston prepares for huge wave of marathon visitors
  • Motivated LeBron James preps for postseason
  • Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • Fiat-Chrysler to produce iconic Jeep in China from 2015
  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • OFW from UAE tests negative for MERS-Cov–health chief
  • Multicultural flock marks Good Friday in San Francisco
  • Las Vegas ‘Pinoy Pride’ fest hails Filipino heritage
  • Marking Jesus’ journey on Good Friday
  • Filipina accomplice arrested for fake bills in Malaysia