Dear UST faithful,
I first encountered you guys when I was a nine-year-old kid. I was crazy, energetic and clueless then of life. I was so clueless that the only teams I knew consistently during that time were the Ateneo Blue Eagles (my school ever since grade school), the De La Salle Green Archers (well… rivals) and the FEU Tamaraws (because.. domination during that time.) I had no idea who you guys were. I had no idea who your team was. As in wala.
But then the UAAP Season 69 finals came.
That was when your team, and you guys introduced yourself to me. For your part, it was amazing. You just won your first championship after a 10-year drought. It was a Cinderella run for you guys as well, since you came from being the third seed all the way to the championship. For my part, however, it was heartbreaking.
I’m pretty sure you would understand why it was heartbreaking. Top seed, overtime in Game 3, all that jazz. You all know the story. But despite that loss, I wasn’t that downtrodden. Maybe because, I was just nine years old and I wasn’t that passionate about the game yet? Maybe because, I had other things to take care off? Or maybe it’s because of you guys?
Every time I watch that old video clip of nine-year-old small chubby me jumping up and down shouting “Go USTe! Go USTe!” in a home full of Ateneans, I’m reminded that, yes, it is because of you guys.
And after nine years of knowing you, the UST faithful, it’s been the same. Your passion for the team, the game and supporting the school continue to amaze me, lift me up and give me hope every time I’m feeling down after an Ateneo loss. It’s been especially evident this season.
Season 78 wasn’t expected to be the kindest for the Tomasinos. The UST community (and the UAAP community to some extent) didn’t exactly like head coach Bong Dela Cruz. He was the successor to legend Pido Jarencio after all, and he didn’t do that good of a job during his first season with the Tigers. Plus, there was no clear cut leader during that time. Kevin Ferrer? Ed Daquioag? Karim Abdul? Who knew. Those three didn’t seem capable of leading a young UST team into the playoffs. But despite that, your support never wavered for the team. This was especially evident during the first game that I watched of you guys live.
It was a Wednesday afternoon then. UP had just upset La Salle, and Twitter was exploding. It was an upset after all. For your game against FEU, however, fans weren’t too hopeful about an upset. This was FEU after all. FE FREAKING U. They just demolished Ateneo by 24 points the Sunday before. A loss for the Tiger faithful was expected. Despite that, you guys were still loud. You guys were still rowdy. Your passion was still unrivaled. And look at that? All of that cheering and passion was all worth it. Your team ended up upsetting the much favored Tamaraws. Despite the big win against the Tamaraws, your passion remained the same. Heck, you could even say your passion grew even more.
You still kept on cheering on for your team. You remained supportive throughout the tough times.
You remained United. Supportive. Together.
And I would like to say, thank you.
You gave this basketball fan hope that passion for the game and one’s school isn’t gone. In a time where complaining about coaching and the performance of players are all you see and hear in Twitter timelines and during games themselves, your passion still stands out. Walang sisihan. Walang turuan. Iisang komunidad lamang na sumusuporta sa minamahal na eskwelahan.
And you know what, keep it up. The basketball community needs more people like you. We have too much “analysts” nowadays. We have too much pessimists. We need more passionate, optimistic and united fans such as you. Despite the success that your team has now, keep your feet on the ground. Don’t become demanding and ungrateful fans. Remain grateful to your team. Remain united. Because your unity and support is the reason why that “Go USTe” cheer of yours continues to ring inside my head every single day.
A regular basketball fan just like all of you