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Normally the battlefield has clear dividing lines. One side has always been blue, the other has always been green. But for the first time in the history of the Ateneo-La Salle rivalry, supporters of both camps arrived in one vibrant color last Sunday. A spectacular sea of yellow greeted the fans as they entered Araneta Coliseum.

From the get-go, one realized this was no ordinary first round encounter between the Ateneo Blue Eagles and the De La Salle Green Archers. It was a game that transcended normal rules of combat. Fierce rivals ever since, players from both camp emerged from the locker rooms in identical yellow warm-up suits. This was, after all, in honor of beloved President Corazon Aquino. 

Set against the backdrop of national mourning, the Ateneo-La Salle game last August 9 carried a different poignancy. With Cory Aquino’s grandsons Miguel Abellada, Jiggy and Jonty Cruz on hand to watch the game, Lea Salonga’s recorded live rendition of “Bayan Ko” blared over the loudspeakers moments before tip-off. At the moment, fans, even those who felt school officials had gone overboard with the pregame dramatics, were reminded that intense love for one’s school can be channeled into a burning love for the country.


WORDS: Mico Halili
PHOTO: Ryan Ong courtesy of greenarchers.ph

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