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WNCAA growing older, growing bolder

  • Written by Ed Andaya
  • Published in Opinion
  • Read: 357

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.

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