An inspiring triumph awaited for decades – Manila Bulletin
It took 36 long years or almost half a lifetime to achieve a truly spectacular feat. I’m referring to the UP Fighting Maroons, the new UAAP champion.
It was a phenomenal display of unbridled passion, deep pride and boundless hope that overwhelmed basketball fans like me who share one thing in common: the University of the Philippines is our alma mater and the roller coaster of emotions that we went through last Friday were just plain nervous. – destroying.
But when Joel Diomar “JD” Cagulangan sank the game-winning three-pointer that broke the tie of 69 with half a second left in overtime, the thrill of victory was exhilarating. In an instant, our collective dream became a reality. After being the eternal basement dweller of college basketball premier league, our beloved UP is on top again.
The euphoria we felt when the UP Fighting Maroons finally dethroned the Ateneo Blue Eagles, who came so close to a four round victory, was certainly unlike any previous experience as we followed the rise of the tale fairy tales from our alma mater to the championship.
Four years ago, we almost reached the top. Yet even though Ateneo finally emerged champions in 2018, we were still so proud to have finally reached the final. To make a feel-good story even better, some even warned Ateneo to really watch out for UP who never lost the championship final – only because 2018 was the first time UP had entered the final since 1986.
But finally becoming Numero Uno instead of being a finalist again is truly ecstatic. Especially since the scores were so close throughout that neither team was certain of victory until the game ended at the last split second.
The suspense was breathtaking as alumni from both universities poured out in applause. But it was the frenzied display of emotion by highly motivated young fans wildly applauding both schools that got me thinking again: what if the same passion was harnessed in the pursuit of national development?
Young Filipinos can indeed be a force to be reckoned with, being the largest sector of Filipino society, with virtually no vested interests to protect, with time on their side, with talent and potential to develop. When fully informed, motivated, inspired and mobilized, the youth sector is the most formidable block of citizens that can change society.
As I have written countless times before, our young people can be the primary engine for improving our country’s quality of life. They can build an effective and honest government that responds to the pressing needs of the people. They can be the driving force to choose God-fearing, competent and compassionate leaders who have the right strategy to create jobs and livelihoods for the people and save the country from poverty, injustice, underdevelopment , the breakdown of peace and order, inequality and other social ills.
With today’s information technology, today’s youth can use powerful tools capable of reaching millions of people, influencing them with ideals and aspirations, and mobilizing them to take action. in unison to drive progress and genuinely bring about critical positive change and renew the people’s trust in government.
Dreaming is a privilege of youth that must never be abandoned, lest one lose one’s youth with the feeling of idealism that this implies. Filipino youth, to be the hope of the homeland as prophesied by our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, must dream big – of a better place, of a more developed country, of an egalitarian society.
With millennials already making their presence felt in public discourse, there is no doubt that youth empowerment is alive. There can be so much hope that positive change for the country would be achieved with the youth playing a vital role in national transformation leading to a better quality of life for all Filipinos.
I call on today’s youth to step forward, not just as fans or followers of basketball teams, but as leaders and influencers to usher in positive change. Use social media effectively. Use the power of technology not just for gambling or personal gain, but harness it to make your generation an informed, organized, and meaningful power base to achieve the full progress of our country.
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