MANILA, Philippines — Let the games begin. And the UAAP Season 76 did Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena with an elaborate and colorful opening ceremony patterned after the hit book “The Hunger Games”.
Falcons’ legends Hector Calma and Kenneth Duremdes and Ateneo’s Olsen Racela graced the opening, passing on the torch to the next generation of UAAP athletes.
“I challenge you to continue our legacy. Never forget our history and the values that make a true UAAP student athlete,” said Calma, speaking to the athletes.
Star guard Jericho Cruz — the new face of Adamson — was garbed in black and gold costume warrior-like outfit as he led the athletes from all sports and participating universities in the parade.
Cruz accepted the torch from the UAAP legends.
“Today we are here to honor the [athletes] and to celebrate once more their greatness,” said Adamson president Gregg Bañaga.
“Greatness starts here at the UAAP. The names and faces may change, but the greatness stays,” he added in the speech.
Dancers representing the eight universities dressed up according to their school’s identity, but taking a page from the book from which the opening was themed.
The schools’ dancers wore hats, capes matching their university colors and giving off a tribal look, as they came out like the characters from the Districts.
The others were dressed in over-the-top outfits, looking like the people from the Capitol — as in the movie.
Adamson, this year’s host of the UAAP, had the most elaborate introduction in the opening as they showcased huge birds with feathers of white and blue.