LET THE NCAA WARS BEGIN!
Yesterday, the NCAA ushered in its 85th season with a bang! And in yesterday’s offering, new stars were born. For the Bedan diehards, names like Gamalinda, Daniel, Lanete, Caram emerged from the shadows of first five’s past to deliver in their opening game against Mapua. But being there amongst the crowd, it was clear who yesterday’s biggest star was: San Beda College itself.
The crowd at the Araneta was treated to nothing less of a spectacle. The opening ceremonies was a masterpiece. Rector President Fr. Matt de Jesus had long kept mum about what will happen at the opening. He simply said, “The ceremony is better seen than heard.” And he was right.
It started with a group dressed like red-clad monks, with two little kids, one dressed in a cute San Beda jersey, and the other unassuming in a white long sleeved polo and black pants.
When the cameras zoomed into the latter, the crowd roared at the sight of Santino, from the hugely popular primetime soap, “May Bukas Pa.” He then led the prayer, speaking to his best friend Bro. (Sorry guys, you have to watch the soap to be able to relate).
Thereafter, Philip Nolasco, that cute kid wearing the San Beda jersey, sang The Lord’s Prayer with much gusto. I couldnt believe that the powerful voice was coming from that diminutive frame. I later found out that he was the first Little Grand Star Dreamer, in the reality show Pinoy Dream Academy. After that moving rendition, one of the red clad monks started singing The National Anthem and revealed himself to be…. Christian Bautista!!
Wow showbiz talaga ng San Beda, pang-masa pa rin!
The parade of athletes was ushered by each of the school muses in tastefully designed Victorian-inspired outfits, with a school-colored giant feather as their headdress. I took that scene as a signal, there were more surprises to come.
Now, the real show began. I learned the true meaning of a Bedan production number soon after the lights went on.
A huge makeshift screen was set up to flash an audiovisual presentation of vivid images of the last few seasons of the NCAA. A fallen image of John Wilson weeping on the floor, jubilant Letran Knights celebrating a win, a photo of Yousif Aljamal making a shot, and Sam Ekwe waiting for the ball to fall on his hands. Then a flurry of flashes came showing the insignias of the member schools, all with witty captions describing each of the schools’ mantra for the season. This was accompanied by original music commissioned by San Beda College, exclusively for this event,. From the AVP alone, I said, this is it. I texted my sister, who opted to watch on TV, “P*&&&^$%a, you should have been here to see this.”
Then the spectacle unfolded. I was truly sorry for the people who weren’t there. The experience was beyond words.
There were acrobats flying in harnesses, brilliant choreography happening on the floor. You wouldn’t know where to direct your attention. I was catching a glimpse of the TV coverage as the commentators’ desk was right in front of me. No, you couldn’t capture magic on TV. I saw the camaderie that developed among the pep squads and dance troupes of each member school. They each played an active part of the show. They each had their moments to shine. In the end, they were all hugging and celebrating in the success of what has got to be the greatest show the NCAA ever produced.
Right now, as I write this post, I thought of scrambling through my bag and keeping what was left of yesterday’s ticket to remember that for that ticket, I got to see the San Beda Red Lions and the Cirque du Soleil all in one sitting!
At the end of it all, smirking after the huge blow that my Red Lions dealt on the listless Mapua Cardinals, I just couldn’t help but shout, “SARAP MAGING BEDISTA!!!!”
Only those words could quite describe how I felt as I sat in awe.
GO SAN BEDA FIGHT!
N.B. A big lion’s roar shout-out to the brains behind the Opening Day festivities, Fr. Alberic Laserna, O.S.B. and 2009 NCAA ManCom Chair Jose Mari Lacson! And to all the brilliant artists who played their roles yesterday, you put up quite a show. CONGRATS!
N.B.too: Special thanks to Ms. Elaine Javier for all the photos of the NCAA Opening Ceremonies. For more pictures, check out this site: http://pulatography.multiply.com/photos/album/3/NCAA_85th_season_opening_by_ELAINE_JAVIER#