UAAP: Winning Maroons join rainy UP Lantern Parade

Danine Cruz on Dec 14, 2018 09:56 PM
UAAP: Winning Maroons join rainy UP Lantern Parade
It was drizzling the whole afternoon, but the players and fans still continued the parade. Cheers of 'Atin 'To!' and 'UP Fight' were chanted.

The rain did not bother the UAAP Season 81 men's basketball runners-up as the Fighting Maroons participated in the annual Lantern Parade Friday at the University of the Philippines in Diliman.

Seven members of the history-making team namely UAAP Season 81 MVP Bright Akhuetie, Jun Manzo, Javi Gomez de Liano, Janjan Jaboneta, Gelo Vito, Diego Dario, and Will Gozum rode a truck that slowly went around the campus' massive academic oval. During the ride, they took selfies with fans along the road.

It was drizzling the whole afternoon but the players and fans still continued the parade. The crowd chanted 'Atin 'To!' and 'UP Fight' while the drummers kept hitting their signature beats just a few vehicles away from the basketball team's truck.

The participation of the team in the yearly tradition of the community is in celebration of the men's basketball program ending a 32-year medal drought in men's basketball.

"Sobrang sarap ng feeling. At least for one last time lalo na ngayong Pasko na nakita namin yung buong community, na kahit umuulan andito pa rin para sa amin, todo suporta pa rin. We are really blessed as a team and as individuals to have this opportunity and probably this is the best UP experience for me if you're gonna ask me," said graduating player Gelo Vito.

"It's really a blessing, may mga naririnig pa nga ako na may dumayo pa from UP Baguio to be here," added Vito.

Akhuetie was thrilled to see the warm reception from UP supporters.

"It's awesome. I can't wait to make these guys proud by getting the championship. Look at the hearts these people are pouring out. There is nothing you can do for them that can be too much. Despite the weather, the rain and all, they still showed up."

However, Akhuetie expressed that despite the love they have been getting from the community, a bridesmaid finish is not enough.

"I just couldn't get it in my head that 'Oh okay, for them to be this happy, I've done enough' I still feel we have to do more so I like it, it's okay but I'm not carried away by it," he said.

Aside from the basketball team, the men's track and feld team, which ended a 36-year title drought, also had their own truck to celebrate the achievement.

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