Blog Posts by Bea Coronel

  • On being a captain of the UP Pep Squad

    UP Pep Squad co-captain Irish Planes shows off her winning form. (Photo courtesy of Irish Planes)

    Last year was the first time I watched the Cheerdance Competition live. What was even more special was that as a courtside reporter, I got to don a blonde wig, introduce the squad and, best of all, sit down with them at the center of the court right before Boom named the UP Pep Squad champions. I had always been in awe of their athleticism, difficult routines and, most of all, at the way they managed to be so enthusiastic at all times.

    This week, I was fortunate enough to have gotten the chance to sit down with one of the team captains to talk about what it's like to be part of what has been dubbed the 'Pep Squad ng Bayan'.

    Irish Planes, a fifth-year Speech Communication major, is one of the three captains, along with Trixie Segundo and Kiko Cortez, entrusted by the coaches to lead the champion squad. It's a job Irish admits to be both fulfilling and challenging. "The best part is that I get to inspire and influence an awesome group of people, but the challenging part is that because

    Read More »from On being a captain of the UP Pep Squad
  • Professor, manager, fan

    Tessa Jazmines has been an avid UP supporter all these years. (Photo by Edison Ching)

    When I was deciding what classes to take for the first semester of the previous academic year, several upperclassmen advised me to enrol in the Public Relations class under a certain Professor Jazmines. They told me that everyone in the class would be given media passes to the Men's Basketball Tournament, and we would cover the different games and conduct interviews with the players and coaches, among others. It all sounded like the perfect class to me. After all, I had always been a big fan of the UAAP (and I was still unsure about whether or not I was going to be chosen to be the school's courtside reporter that season). I lined up to be enlisted, and thankfully, the secretary of the Journalism Department managed to secure me a slot. Little did I know that it would end up being, in my opinion, the best class I have taken to date.

    On the first day of class, I was surprised to see a middle-aged lady wearing a Fighting Maroons shirt, black jogging pants and rubber shoes walk in. I

    Read More »from Professor, manager, fan
  • Catching up with Martin Reyes

    Former UP Maroon Martin Reyes is now an entrepreneur.

    I will never forget the looks on the faces of the Fighting Maroons when they sang the UP Naming Mahal for the last time in Season 73. Sporting their then black uniforms, they hung their heads in shame. Their final record read 0-14. Only a few boys were able to glance at the crowd before heading to the locker room. Martin Reyes, however, applauded those who had come out to support them — a gesture of thanks to those who, despite the team's performance and problems, still showed some school spirit.

    I had always wondered what was running through his mind, and those of his teammates as well, during that last game and the rest of the season, for that matter. After all, it may be safe to say that the Fighting Maroons had talented players, noted mentors and, though not as strong as that of this season, a supportive alumni network. So where were they lacking?

    Above anything else, Martin attributes his team's poor performance to the lack of consistency in the system. "In my five playing years,

    Read More »from Catching up with Martin Reyes
  • There’s a new kid in town

    Rookie Henry Asilum is only 16 but playing like a veteran. (NPPA Images)

    Forgive me for my exaggeration, but recently, a couple of things have been making me feel old - my batchmates' graduation pictures, my younger cousins I babied growing up in front of my eyes, and that meme, which showed Eminem's now 17 year old daughter Hailey, to name a few. My experience today just added to my list - interviewing a college freshman, who had just turned 16 over the summer.

    We had been let off class by noon, so I texted UP's rookie point guard Renzar Henry Asilum or Nxoi (pronounced Ensoy), to ask if I could conduct my interview earlier than scheduled. He agreed, on the condition that I go to him at the UP University Hostel. Apparently, he had already intended on taking a nap.

    Sporting a simple getup of a plain tee, shorts and sneakers, Nxoi met me at the lobby. I decided to play detective and observe him extra closely. He was fidgeting with his phone the whole time, pretending to text or, probably, really texting his girlfriend, whom (and he'll most likely kill me

    Read More »from There’s a new kid in town
  • View from the Twitterverse

    I've never understood how people can pay such close attention to their phones, laptops, tablets or whatever other gadgets they have with them while watching a UAAP basketball game live. Whether it's the MOA Arena, the Araneta Coliseum, Ultra or even the Blue Eagle Gym, I always seem to get so engrossed in the action. It's a combination of a lot of things: the sound of the drums blaring from General Admission; seeing the reactions of the overly emotional Gang Green or ADMU alumni (whom I refer to as the subjects of the Eagle God); watching the UP Pep Squad receive cheers, even from the opponent; and, if you're seated in Patron, at least, witnessing every single emotion from the players and coaches. So yes, how one constantly minds one's phone inside the venue is beyond me. And even more so, unless of course you're a sports writer or part of the media, non-stop Tweeting just seems completely insane.

    For the first time this season, however, I was unable to spend my past weekend at the MOA

    Read More »from View from the Twitterverse
  • Rookie havin’ a ball

    UP rookie Chris Ball defending against Adamson's Eric Camson. (NPPA Images)

    With the UP Fighting Maroons down by only two points in the last 18 seconds of the game against the Adamson Falcons, everyone was hoping for a game-winning shot from beyond the arc or an easy lay-up that would send the game into overtime, at the very least. To everyone's dismay, Alvin Padilla's long-range jumper bounced off the rim. Once again, the boys went back to the dugout with their heads down. But at the same time, supporters managed to yet again find a silver lining in the Maroons' effort. This time, it was the breakout game of Chris Ball. The rookie chipped in 13 points, 8 of them in the second quarter, 5 rebounds, 3 of which were offensive and 2 blocks.

    "Sure, I can do that. I'm free at 9 a.m. Where would you prefer to meet?," the reply, which came only minutes after I texted asking for an interview, read. I knew the boys were training at 6 a.m. that day, so I was thankful Chris decided to accommodate me right away.

    I had bumped into him a few times when I would attend the

    Read More »from Rookie havin’ a ball
  • Like father, like son

    Spot the Dandans in the photo. Clue: they're both in white shirts and have their arms folded. (NPPA Images)

    In the world of collegiate basketball, when you say "Dandan" the first person that comes to mind is Frederick Oliver "Ricky" Dandan, Head Coach of the UP Fighting Maroons. Few are aware that another Dandan is involved with the squad from State U - Mark Dandan, one of the Assistant Coaches and son of Coach Ricky. When I first met the UP coaching staff last season, I didn't think the two were even remotely related — from my perspective, the only thing they had in common was the way they shook their heads.

    A graduate of AB Interdisciplinary Studies at the Ateneo de Manila University in 2008 and currently pursuing a Diploma in Exercise and Sports Science at the University of the Philippines as his second degree, Coach Mark knew early on that he was destined to fall in love with the game of basketball.

    "I had a ball in my hands when I was three years old," he recalls. Growing up in a basketball-loving brood, Coach Mark says his transition from player to coach was a natural progression. He

    Read More »from Like father, like son
  • Captain on board

    University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons team captain Mike Gamboa, or G, as he is fondly called by the team (so as not to be confused with Mike Silungan) and I met up at the Tea Room, a restaurant café run by the students of his home college, the College of Home Economics. Looking fresh despite coming from basketball training at 6 a.m. and a gruelling Math class right after, Mike sat down with me for a few minutes. After catching up with each other on the amount of school work we have piling up (we're both graduating) and teaching him a thing or two about mentioning someone on Twitter, I asked him about his diagnosis of their previous game and what changes we can expect from the Fighting Maroons this season, among others.

    Many referred to the Maroons' loss to the De La Salle Green Archers as a heart breaker, but for the team captain, it was a testament to how much the Maroons have improved, both physically and mentally, since Season 74. The last few minutes, no doubt, tested the

    Read More »from Captain on board