LOOK: Ateneo bonfire celebrates sporting dynasties
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.
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.
Thirdy Ravena calls his friend Andy, who he gave his championship medal to, to the stage and recognizes the efforts of the Ateneo Blue Eagles’ Tita Debbie. #UAAPSeason82 | @beebeego09 pic.twitter.com/z60MgQmYz3— Rappler Sports (@RapplerSports) November 23, 2019
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.
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.