In a few months, the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) will be opening, what it claims to be, its 78th season. That count, however, is a LIE. To date, the UAAP has held and closed a total of 73 seasons since the 1938-39 season, making the one in September hosted by the University of the Philippines the 74th.
Common sense dictates that since the league was founded in 1938 as so prominently seen in the ever-rotating logo. Deduct the current year from the foundation year and you have the number of seasons that have already passed.
Really simple, right?
But there’s a problem. If you remember your history, the 40’s was a chaotic period for the Philippines all thanks to World War 2. The Japanese invaded, Manila was flattened and institutions, including universities, not excluding UAAP schools, came to a screeching halt. From 1942 to 1946 the UAAP went silent. No games were played, no events were held, the UAAP did not exist.
It wasn’t until the end of the war in the Pacific that the member schools began picking up the pieces and readied themselves to go into battle once more, but this time on the hard court. Since re-opening for the 1946-47 season, the UAAP has held its tournament annually without fail.
To correct the count, we simply knock off the four years the UAAP didn’t hold any events. If nobody is playing, it can’t be considered a season.
And there you have it, 73, the real “Season count” of the UAAP. If we are referring to the age of the league, then by all means, 77 years to this date is accurate. But if we are counting the number of seasons the league has played, then the four-year lull changes the counting. As far as I can tell, the discrepancy came because the UAAP didn’t really count seasons until television broadcast networks decided it would be easier to make a graphic with a two-digit number instead of eight-digit years.
Honestly, it’s really not a big deal how many seasons the UAAP has played or if the annually changed graphic is accurate. But it’s fun to remember how far the league has come from its inception nearly eight decades ago. In the 77 years the UAAP has existed, there have been 73 seasons played and 77 Men’s basketball champions crowned (yup, you read that right).