College Cage Wars: *UAAP Now Leads the Field
byon 09-04-2012 at 11:35 PM (3610 Views)
With the professional Philippine Basketball Association currently on vacation, having produced three different conference champions – Talk ‘N Text (All-Filipino Cup)), B-Meg (Commissioner’s Cup) and Rain or Shine (Governors’ Cup) – in its previous 37th season for the first time since 2003, local hoops action shifts to the collegiate level.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) undoubtedly are the premier collegiate leagues not only in the Metro Manila area but also throughout the country.
The NCAA was this Hoopster’s favorite league during his teen-aged and college days from the 1960s to the mid-1970s. *
The rival UAAP league admittedly possessed the more talented players at the time, but the NCAA was more popular as a gate attraction.
The NCAA was the “glamour” league due to the presence of elitist schools Ateneo and De La Salle. *Moreover, the NCAA games were more exciting and competitive and parity existed among the member schools. Results were unpredictable as various schools took turns in annexing the championship.
Check out the title winners at the time: *1965 – Mapua Institute of Technology, 1966 – Colegio de San Juan de Letran, 1967 – Jose Rizal College, 1968 – Jose Rizal College, 1969 – Ateneo de Manila University, 1970 – Colegio de San Juan de Letran, 1971 – De La Salle College, 1972 – Jose Rizal College, 1973 – San Sebastian College-Recoletos, and 1974 – De La Salle College.
Pardon my fertile mind, but the NC schools back then also owned the prettiest fans and supporters in the local college ball scene. *English-speaking, perfume-scented colegialas from Marynoll (now Miriam College) and St. Scholastica College trooped to the games to cheer and make pa-cute to their favorite players from nearby schools Ateneo and La Salle.
In contrast, two schools dominated the UAAP cage wars during the mid-sixties – the University of the East Red Warriors and the University of Santo Tomas Glowing Goldies (now known as the Growling Tigers).
During those years, it was either the Warriors or Goldies that came out as the champion. *UE emerged victorious in 1962, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1971 while UST took the crown in 1964.
In 1967, the two schools shared the title after the referees declared a “no contest” in the championship game when the head coaches from both sides – Virgilio (Baby) Dalupan for UE and Rogelio Serafica for UST – refused to identify their first five to open the second half and thus caused a prolonged stalemate.
At the time, Robert (Sonny) Jaworski was UE’s meal ticket while Danilo Florencio was UST’s brightest star.
Despite the presence of Jaworski and Florencio, mas may “dating” pa rin ang NCAA noon kaysa sa UAAP.
Even as it sent a number of stars to the Philippine national team, notably Jaworski and Florencio to the 1967 Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC) tournament (now known as the FIBA Asia Championship) in Seoul, South Korea where the Filipinos snared the title with a 9-0 record, the UAAP still ranked a far second to the NCAA at the turnstiles.
Of course, things are so different now.
The NCAA lost much of its luster following the defection of Ateneo and La Salle to the UAAP in 1978 and 1986, respectively. *And the UAAP has progressively become college ball’s top league since the 2000s with better television coverage and ratings and higher gate attendance than the NCAA.
Legendary musician Bob Dylan is right: *“The times they are a-changin’.”