MANILA, Philippines – UAAP Season 82 host Ateneo celebrated its dominance in the collegiate league as its men's basketball team, men's and women's swimming team and women's badminton team continued its reign on top of the podium.
Fresh off the men's basketball team's historic 16-0 season for a three-peat title, the blue and white also honored the men's swimming team's six-peat title romp, the women's swimming team's third straight championship and the women's badminton team's back-to-back titles.
The championship was a career-defining moment for graduating men's basketball team members – Thirdy Ravena, Matt and Mike Nieto, Isaac Go and Adrian Wong – as they leave a mark no better than a perfect season.
According to Blue Eagles head coach Tab Baldwin, who called this team "the hardest practicing team" he has coached, the only way for other teams to beat him is by finding a better team than this 16-0 squad.
Former Blue Eagle Jai Reyes asks Coach Tab himself on what will it take to beat him. He replies: ‘A better team than this one’. #UAAPSeason82 | @beebeego09 pic.twitter.com/3gykheJHtz — Rappler Sports (@RapplerSports) November 23, 2019
Ravena, the UAAP's first three-time Finals MVP, called his friend Andy, who is diagnosed with autism, onto the stage and revealed that he promised to give him the gold medal after last season's back-to-back title romp.
The Nieto twins, Go and Wong announced their decision to apply for the 2019 PBA Draft, while Ravena admitted he's still weighing his options before making a final decision.
Baldwin also told the Ateneo community he would be back for UAAP Season 83 along with rising stars SJ Belangel, Will Navarro and MVP runner-up Angelo Kouame.
The Ateneo men's swimming team also never felt more proud of their six-peat title run, noting the challenge of this year's title defense without two-time Olympian Jessie Lacuna and former captain Aldo Batungbacal.
Three-time MVP Chloe Daos also anchored the Ateneo women's swimming team that copped its third straight championship as she has amassed a total of 20 gold medals in her 3 years with the blue and white.
Aside from being a three-peat UAAP swimming champ, Chloe Daos has 20 gold medals, 3 MVP awards and 1 Rookie of the Year plum in her UAAP career. #UAAPSeason82 | @beebeego09 pic.twitter.com/S8eOG9F9pY — Rappler Sports (@RapplerSports) November 23, 2019
Last October, MVPs Chanelle Lunod and Geva De Vera towed the Ateneo Lady Eagles back to the UAAP women’s badminton throne over La Salle.
Ateneo is still expected to dominate in the following seasons as Mika De Guzman bagged the Rookie of the Year plum along with her first championship.
Ateneo cops back-to-back UAAP women’s badminton champion! #UAAPSeason82 | @beebeego09 pic.twitter.com/xJQ1Chp9Pt — Rappler Sports (@RapplerSports) November 23, 2019
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.