THIRTY-three years ago today, I wrote of the 14th Women’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (WNCAA) season:
People’s Journal, Oct. 25, 1983
UP takes crown
By Edward Andaya
“Powerhouse University of the Philippines demolished De La Salle, 75-60, yesterday to capture the Women’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (WNCAA) basketball title at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum.
The Maroonettes had their guns blazing throughout and tore through the Lady Archers’ defense in asserting their mastery of DLSU.
Led by Most Valuable Player (MVP) awardee Angie de la Cruz, the Maroonettes controlled both boards in a mighty show of force to take an early 20-7 lead and never looked back as they made it three in a row over the Lady Archers this season.
In the high school division, Grace Christian struck down heavily-favored and top finalist University of Santo Tomas, 73-71, to forge a rubber match for the title on Nov. 1.
The GCHS reached the finals by routing St. Scholastica’s, 81-72, in their playoffs for the second finals berth.”
To this day, I still keep an old -- very old -- copy of the widely-read tabloid People’s Journal dated October 25, 1983 where my story on the title match between University of the Philippines and La Salle in the 14th WNCAA season appeared.
It was the first time that my by-line appeared on national paper and my sports editor, Chito Manuel, even used my now seldom-used nickname Edward in my first-ever coverage story.
I remembered it vividly. After the 1983 final, both UP and La Salle left the WNCAA due to the “league’s iron-clenched policy of exclusivity” implemented by the late WNCAA commissioner (and Lyceum athletic director) Charlie Martin.
Both UP and La Salle, rivals for many years, had a falling out with the league with the Lady Maroons also competing in the UAAP and the Lady Archers also joining a new league called Consortium.
“The WNCAA board wanted to maintain its exclusivity policy. We decided to allow less membership rather than sacrifice the high standard of the league,” Martin was quoted as saying.
Thus, the 15th WNCAA season was down to only seven teams in 1984: Lyceum, TUP, PSBA, PMI, St. Scholastica’s, PWU and Maryknoll (now Miriam College).
And in 1985, the cast of 16th WNCAA season which I also religiously covered for Times Journal/News Herald dwindled further down to only four teams: Lyceum, PSBA, St. Scholastica’s and Maryknoll.
Journal Group of Publications editor-in-chief Gus Villanueva was even the g uest of honor-speaker during Season 16 opening.
Why am I suddenly turning nostalgic and talking about it?
Well, the WNCAA, the first league I covered when I was still the greenest of greenhorns exactly 33 years ago, is back in the news again.
Dubbed as the ‘League of Their Own”, the WNCAA is launching its 47th season with yet another colorful ceremony at the Makati Coliseum on Saturday.
Time indeed flies so fast.
“We’re not only growing old, we’re growing bolder,” said WNCAA president Vivian Manila during the media lunch hosted by St. Peter Catholic School last Wednesday.
It was a good time to catch up on the WNCAA and learn new things about the old league.
Here are some of them:
--A total 16 member-schools will see action in the country’s only tri-level competition.
--Last year’s overall champions are Rizal Technological University (seniors), Miriam (juniors) and St. Paul’s College (midget).
-- Centro Escolar University is seeking an unprecedented sixth straight collegiate title.
-- Chiang Kai Shek College and La Salle Zobel are the defending champions in junior and midget categories.
-- This year’s theme is Women on Fire: A Legacy of Passion.
-- Volleyball sweetheart Alyssa Valdez and former University of Asia and Pacific basketball team captain Ross Teotico will attend the opening ceremony.
“She (Alyssa) is a perfect model. Her perseverance to reach where she is right now can motivate young female athletes from different schools who want to be like her,” said Ms.Manila.
-- The opening-day program will showcase the rich Filipino-Chinese culture.
“Being a Filipino-Chinese school, we would like to share our Filipino-Chinese culture. We would be having a fusion of performances so we would have the traditional dragon dance, lion heads and we would also be having fire-themed dancers,” said Bianca Gelido of host St. Jude.
-- The teams will participate in 10 sports: basketball, volleyball, badminton, lawn tennis, table tennis, taekwondo, softball, futsal, swimming and cheerdancing.
NOTES -- My Lolo Rene would have turned 99 yesterday. Next to my father Bert, he was also my idol while growing up under his strict but loving arms. He is sorely missed on his special day. Happy birthday in heaven, Lolo Rene.