Do you still remember these past UAAP Athlete of the Year awardees?
Barry Viloria on May 30, 2016 10:21 PM
With their success in both high school and collegiate levels and beyond, they surely brought pride to their alma mater—and to the entire country, in general! (Photo taken from Johansen Aguilar's Instagram account: @johanaguilar)
One award highly anticipated at the end of every school year is the Athlete of the Year, given to outstanding players from champion teams of the season’s past. Previous seasons have seen awardees representing one guy and one girl coming from both junior and senior divisions, respectively. (Yes, there’s been more than two in the past.) Then it became just an awardee for each division.
Fast forward to recent (controversial) times with the announcement of #UAAPSeason78 awardees, including Alyssa Valdez who’s the women’s volleyball MVP despite finishing only as a runner-up in the said event. While the UAAP Board is cooking something different for next year (they might just call the plum as “Outstanding Players of the Year” so it’s, well, fairer), we’d like to remember some of the best Athletes of the Year in UAAP seasons past.
But, where are they now exactly?
Season 76 Athlete of the Year Jodilyn Fronda of the DLSU Woodpushers
She was only the second chess player to have nabbed an Athlete of the Year plum then, following fellow Lasallian and GM John Paul Gomez in UAAP Season 71. (FEU chess player Janelle Mae Frayna ran as the third in Season 77.) Winning such was fated for Fronda, whose chess enthusiast of a dad became her first, long-enduring mentor. She started playing at 4 and then competed in world tournaments at 9. How else does the International Master practice her skills in chess when not playing? She currently coaches at La Salle Zobel.
Season 74 Athlete of the Year Johansen Aguilar of the DLSU Green Tankers
He was pegged as the next Enchong Dee, having come from Taft and with features betraying his Chinoy genes. If only he didn’t break his predecessor’s individual medley record. Aguilar not only graduated with such laurel; he also went through school with three MVP honors and a magna cum laude distinction. He now keeps busy as a businessman—and, based on his Instagram, a jetsetter looking stylish as ever!
Seasons 70 and 73 Athlete of the Year Sabrina Ingrid Ilustre of the UE Junior Warriors
The UAAP Juniors event saw another remarkable swimmer in Ilustre, who’s siblings with other swimming prodigies Bianca Nicole and Sacho Constantino. She entered DLSU for college and has since bagged awards, too, with a silver in women-100m breaststroke and another silver in 200m Fly as her most recent.
Season 71 Athlete of the Year Alyssa Valdez of the UST Tiger Cubs
Yes, she was already one before. The Phenom was still in high school in España then. She’d become instrumental in the victory that would start their high school's historic three-peat. It would be too unneeded if we spell out here how successful she has since become.
Seasons 68 and 69 Athlete of the Year Luica Dacanay of the UP Lady Tankers
Five-time UAAP MVP Dacanay is also a national pride, breaking records as a youngster in Palaro and also clinching a silver medal in the SEA Games. She is the coach behind protégé Regina Maria Paz Castrillo’s gold finish in last year’s Palaro.
Season 75 Athlete of the Year Juan Miguel Ramos of the UST Tiger Jins
Behind the three-peat victory of UST in the Taekwondo seniors division is its resident star Ramos, who was already Athlete of the Year playing for the university back in high school. He has been enrolled in taekwondo since five. Now, he’s just approaching his fourth year in college, so who knows what kind of surprises he has for more for us?
Honored to have called today's UAAP 78 Women's Football Finals between DLSU and UP with @natashaalquiros and witness UP win their first ever UAAP Women's championship.. Thank you @abscbn_sports for the opportunity to cover the matches this season! Always grateful for the amazing experience!! Congrats to the #UPWFT and #UPMFT!! ⚽️❤️🙏 #UAAP78 #UAAPFootball #AbsCbn #SportsAndAction #ForTheLoveOfTheGame #TeamMizuno #NeverSettle #WaveHitogami2
Season 66 Athlete of the Year Marielle Benitez of the DLSU Lady Booters
Three-time UAAP MVP Benitez seems to be the one with the most success within the sports industry, compared to the previous Athletes of the Year. She was captain of the country’s women’s football team and served as Athletic Director for the Philippine Women University. She now stands as a brand ambassador for a football apparel brand, and instructs rowing at fitness studio Saddle Row. The sometime-coach also does sportscasting duties for ABS-CBN Sports + Action's football coverages.