Rainy, Olympic-style rites launch UAAP Season 74 | Inquirer Sports

Rainy, Olympic-style rites launch UAAP Season 74

By: - Reporter / @jwpayoINQ
/ 07:16 PM July 09, 2011

Photo by August dela Cruz

MANILA—A rainbow of colors blanketed the field even as the rains failed to dampen the grand UAAP opening spectacle yesterday.

Season 74 unfolded with a pompous Olympic-style ceremony highlighted by a parade of 3,700 athletes in 15 sports—all carrying school color-coded umbrellas–at the jampacked Marikina Sports Park.

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With the theme “All Out, All Heart,” host Ateneo pulled off the biggest and most ambitious opening rites yet in the premier varsity league.

“This is more than just a simple tournament,” said Fr. Jett Villarin, SJ, president of host Ateneo. “This is not just a matter of physical prowess and strength, but also a matter of heart.”

UAAP president Ricky Palou declared the league officially open as former Ateneo cage star Olsen Racela lighted the giant silver cauldron.

Racela, the long-time PBA playmaker now serving as the national basketball youth coach, carried the UAAP flame–which made a stop at the campuses of the eight league members the past weeks–around the track oval before stepping on a hydraulic lift to light the cauldron.

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Ateneo basketball’s co-skipper Kirk Long led the oath of sportsmanship.

Other highlights of the parade was the 6-foot-11 Greg Slaughter–the Smart Gilas national team mainstay debuting for the Blue Eagles this season–who towered over everyone as he carried the school flag.

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Athletes of perennial overall champion University of Santo Tomas, which had the largest contingent at 627, paraded wearing Tiger beanies and brought signs celebrating the school’s 400th year.

Fireworks capped the event that also featured the Blue Babble Battalion, Ateneo’s choirs and dancers and local bands.

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TAGS: Ateneo, Greg Slaughter, Kirk Long, Marikina Sports Park, Olsen Racela, Ricky Palou, Sports, UAAP Season 74, UST

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