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España High! Through Black and Gold! Green and Blue!

On March 27, 2014. It all came to an end. 16 years of a whirlwind road to education for me has come to a close. The doors have opened to the real world for me. But before all of that, I’m going to do something I’ve done 4 years ago when I finished high school. So yeah, let’s do this! On this entry, I’m here to share my own stories during the course of my stay at my second home for the last four years.

The Royal, Pontifical and Catholic University of the Philippines
The University of Santo Tomas


Prelude to the Journey: Fall Seven Times, Stand Up Eight!

I took in the famous advertising line of Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat (which for some reason I’m not a big fan of that team) during his shoe deal with Converse to tell the story before this came fruit. As a high school student from a all-boys institution in Claret, fourth year meant you’re going to pursue college

I took three college entrance examinations, UPCAT (for the University of the Philippines System), ACET (for the Ateneo de Manila University) and USTET (for the University of Santo Tomas). As it turned out, I failed in both UPCAT and ACET. I had nothing to lose when taking the ACET, but the UPCAT back then left a sting on me. As for the USTET,  I was called for an interview for the course of Travel Management while I was on the waitlist in Computer Science. I went in for the interview, where I was interviewed by the great Dr. Dennis Ligan. Everything went well during the interview. I didn’t encounter any problem. 

Weeks later, the interview results came out. I had a notion I made it since a friend of mine came there said I passed. But my father came over to check again, then came the bad news. I failed the interview. It was rock bottom for me. Knowing I wanted to pursue the program. I felt bad about myself. A couple of minutes later, I composed myself and I started to fight for that slot. We applied for a reconsideration so we contacted the CTHM Office to ask for it. 

On March 24, 2010, I finally finished my high school education at Claret School of Quezon City. Yet the pursuit continued. Days later, I got the opportunity, I was called in for another interview at CTHM for the reconsideration. Prior to that though, I secured my slot for Computer Science, just in case all didn’t end well in my reconsideration at CTHM. On the day of the interview, I came in and I was right away interviewed by the Dean, she told me about my shortcomings and the reasons I failed the interview. I made it a point on the interview those things will never happen again, and that I kept my word of being honest during the time I had my first interview. As fate would have it, they gave me the slot. I will become a Travel Management student!

After a few deliberations, I proceeded with pursuing Travel Management at UST. Got my papers transferred from Engineering to CTHM and have myself enrolled. There I found out I would belong to section 1T5. I never met them personally on enrollment day, yet as the summer went by, I met some of them on Facebook and started to introduce myself to them. Back then, I did not know what will hit me throughout my stay at the university. Yet I was set to embark on a new chapter in my life.

Freshman Year: Entering The Portals of the Square-Shaped Campus!

On June 8, 2010, the Thomasian journey began. I finally got to meet my classmates for the first time in person. I found out right away, we were only three gentlemen in a class filled with ladies. It was a complete reversal from what I got used to throughout my life. Especially I came from a all-boys school. So this whole year was a period of adjustment for me. I had to get used to the fact I will not be able to do the old tricks and trips back in high school.

Then we all had our initiation at the University with the Thomasian Welcome Walk where we went in to the Arch of the Centuries, thus officially rendering us as true Thomasian students. Our first year at the university was a trying time for all of us. Our section back then was the talk of the town, but in a negative way. We feared that we may get reshuffled and will have to meet new faces the next school year. Fortunately, as the year progressed, the prospect went dim.

Of course we had our first CTHM College Week experience, which happened earlier than other colleges of the university. The Weinachtsmarkt (German Christmas Market) for our German class which was held in the campus of the Ateneo de Manila University. The very first Paskuhan festivities we had, which I spent with my high school classmates who came over for a visit. As well as the start of the Quadricentennial festivities as the university reached 400 years of establishment in the archipelago. As the days went by, I came to understand and live the culture of the life as a CTHM student. I was not an officer back then, yet I did things that I would do for the rest of my college life. One being the beadle where I was responsible for going to the equipment room as well as getting things ready. at the podium and the projector. As well as the notes guy, for I was sending notes to people. Yet I had to end it during the middle of my third year.

Then came my notoriety for singing and dancing in between classes, for some reason I was doing things that I thought I’m being bonkers for it. Imagine, a guy on a extra sized uniform doing the “John Wall” on the beat of “Teach Me How To Dougie”.  But yeah, I got caught once by the faculty doing it at a bad time, in which I surrendered my ID and I felt really bad for it. Though, I was able to forgive those who forced me to do it and it was all good afterwards.

Well, who can forget the year we spent in Filipino class with the great Sir Alvin Ringgo Reyes? From the cooking demo/promote a place in UST video to the baby thesis. He made Filipino classes enjoyable for all of us. Not to mention when everyone went crazy when the Thai sleeper hit “A Crazy Little Thing Called Love” was flashed in our classes. The intelligent and brain-teasing discussions in Philippine History and Rizal Course with Sir Gene Atanacio. The very interactive German class of the great Herr Wil Josue. The very fun Business Math class of Sir Robert Arenas. The cookery classes, as well as learning the basics of tourism. As well as the two PE classes the section took, in softball and social dancing. And many other courses that we took during our first year which unfortunately, I cannot remember what happened, so forgive me if I did.

It was during this point where I had a choice. Whether to stay in UST, or settle for a transfer closer to home at UP Diliman since my grades back then was good enough to apply for a transfer. Though the prospect was good, the fact that I fell in love with the vibes of UST, which validated my decision to stay. I was doing well and I came out looking forward to spend another year of the Thomasian journey.

Sophomore Year: Entering the Real Essence!

And so the journey continued, this was the point in time where our section really started to change our general outlook in front of our mentors. We began, to show how good we really became. I remember the Domestic Tour we had in Cebu and Bohol, where we came out to do well in front of the eyes of our mentors at the same time enjoy every moment together as one section. We got good props for being able to do great during the course of the trip. Then came BA Day, where I came in to field in a last minute replacement to go out and perform. Joined by my HRM batchmates Manj of H1, Miggy of H2 (who was also my HS batchmate), KP and Syd of H5 to form our own version of the “Kanto Boys”. We went out to perform which brought delight to everyone watching. It was one of the most memorable moments of this Thomasian journey. For us Travel Management students, the true test of the year came with the Mock Tour Guiding around the city of Manila. I was picked at the Ayala Museum in Makati. Once the dust settled, I came in third in our class behind the top 2 in our class Jeanie and Kim.

We also had our last two PE classes where we got to pick our preferred sport. For me, I got to take basketball during my 1st semester and handball in my 2nd semester. In both PE classes, I got to meet friends from other colleges of the university. It was also during this time where we got to have our NSTP classes. I was able to meet some of my batchmates as we were clustered alphabetically with TRM and HRM students together in one section. I also joined a couple of organizations during that year, with the Thomasian Nippon Sei (now known as Thomasian Nihon Kyouhai) and Pax Romana where I got to meet a lot of new friends as well. I was happy I found a solid group to be with among my classmates. They were there to support me.

Also, who can forget the dreaded GMSQ (Grand Major Short Quiz) during our BA class with Sir Jojo Villamin, as well as the basic accounting class. World Tourism and Geography where I thrived with because of the maps with our then class adviser Sir Win Medina. The Transportation Management class which I also thrived upon with my passion for transportation with instructor Sir Jim Nidea. The very lively speech classes of the great Ms Sheryll Sampang. Then came the transition from learning German to French. And many other courses which gave us more information about the industry we will go with.

We had our second college week where I took part in one of the games where I fell short in the end with my classmate Katlyne winning it all, I also got my first taste of competing in a quiz bee which was done locally, where our T5 family fell short by a solitary point against the T3 family, as well as the sportsfest where I got to play some basketball. The second Paskuhan, known as the “Quadricentennial Paskuhan”,  was a time where I got to spend it with a lot of people which included my blockmates and batchmates in CTHM. In addition, the year was ushered with the transition from Quadricentennial Year to Neocentennial Year. We were fortunately one of the lucky ones to witness this once in a lifetime occassion

I kept up my good performance throughout the year, though there were times I slipped, I was still doing well nicely. Though I saw that life as a Junior will be tough, I had no idea with how much will the next chapter on this story will bring to me.

Junior Year: Driven by Passion, Challenge Accepted!

Entering my Junior Year at the university, I had foreseen that it will be a tough year for all us. But I was coming in to a point, I thought I wouldn’t be in the first place. The invitation came from one of my mentors Ms. Joreen Rocamora, who asked if I could join the team to compete for quiz bee competitions. At first, I had my doubts since while I may a good student, I thought of the fact that there are a lot of my classmates and batchmates who were better suited for it. In the end, I accepted and I was in for a ride I will endure for the last two years of my college life.

During my Junior Year, I joined five competitions. I was joined with alongside my senior teammates Ate Kriskyn Cabrera and Ate Marian Buenaventura. The first one which was the PHILTOA Quiz Bee at the old DOT Building in Manila in which we competed individually, we all made it until the semi-finals, but unfortunately none of us made the Top 10. Days after, we were united as a group and competed at the International Tourism and Trade Expo Quiz Bee at the SkyDome in SM North EDSA, where we came out as CHAMPIONS. It was our first victory which we enjoyed together. The following semester, we went up to Baguio City for the National League of Tourism Students of the Philippines Skills Olympics. We topped the eliminations, but unfortunately we fell short in the Finals and had to settle for third place. That defeat, inspired us days after when we competed for the last time as a group in UP Club for the Environment and Tourism Domestikwhiz 2013, where we came out as CHAMPIONS! Then on the last competition of the year, I competed individually for the 2013 UFTE Cup at the campus of Treston International College in Taguig City, where I settled for a second place finish behind the representative from De La Salle University-Dasmariñas. Because of the good run I had, it was also rewarded when I was recognized by the college during the CTHM Awards Night with a special award they gave me, as well as the Benavides Outstanding Achievement Award which was the University’s recognition for all the efforts I put into during the course of the year.

Outside of the competitions, a lot of things happened as well. We had our events management class with Sir Arnel Cruz where our class came up with the event: “Silhouette: A Glint in the Dark, The Search for The Next Tourism Ambassadress 2013.” which was held on September 23, 2012 at the AFP Theater inside Camp Aguinaldo. We also had our feasibility study with Sir Ernest Alcano, my group in which I was the leader, came up with the bed and breakfast concept in a place in my home province of Batangas. Though we had some flaws, it came out good. Well, who can also forget the chase for the Galileo certification as part of our Galileo class with Ma’am Amy Turaray. I was doing well then, but I fell short. Back then, I felt bad about it, but later on I managed to move on as the solace came with all the victories I amassed over time. Who can also forget the PDSR class of Ms. Mae Fortuna, where I learned how to do the bow tie from scratch. Then of course we got a lot of mathematics with Financial Management class, Statistics class as well as Tour Packaging class where we got to use the calculators a lot. It was also a break from Theology classes. It was also during this time we got to wrap up our foreign language studies as we completed our French language courses. Then came the International Tour to Korea which unfortunately due to financial constraints and my preparation for the competition, I was unable to make the trip.

Outside of the life as a student, it was during this year where I got to watch a couple of UAAP basketball games. I was able to watch both Finals games that year where UST fell short against Ateneo. As well as the first game of the “Chowking Saga” as the Teng brothers Jeric and Jeron battled for the first time which ended with a UST victory in overtime. It would turn out to be the only game I watched LIVE where UST came up with the victory. Then came my third Paskuhan as well as the cap-off to the Neocentennial celebrations.

My life as a Junior student, was the most challenging yet it was I would say the best year of my life as a Thomasian student. With three years down, and one year left. I was all set to end the journey off with the BANG!

Senior Year: Capping Off This Roller-coaster of a Journey!

Entering my Senior Year, I was riding all the great momentum I was able to get from the previous year. I was coming in with a huge grin on my face. However, I didn’t see the worst coming in. Throughout the course of my last academic semester. I struggled mightily. I wasn’t the guy who had the belief that he can do better. The pressure of being a senior got the better of me. That semester was the worst performance I put up in my entire stay in the university. I accepted my fate with a heavy heart. Because of the poor performance, I fell off the honor roll. I thought I wouldn’t do enough to get me through.

Once the first semester ended, my academics came to an end, and I was set to go to practicum. For my practicum, I went to Marsman Drysdale Travel Inc., at their in-plant inside the UST campus. So I never left the building for my practicum. Others may say I was crazy for not going out, but I had good reasons to pursue it here. During my practicum, I experienced everything. I got to learn the basics from telephone etiquette to the more technical aspects of work like visa documentation. I was primarily responsible for recording sales transactions and editing paraphernalia using my skills in Photoshop. I got to interact with a lot of people over my time there. It was a very fulfilling experience for me. One I would never trade away for something else.

Though there were challenging times, there were some notable moments. One was with our Thesis where me and my groupmates went through a lot in getting the paper done. It truly tested our camaraderie and literally, we have to put anything else aside. We didn’t expect a lot, but our hard work bear fruit as we finished with the 5th best Thesis Paper as well as the 3rd Best Group Presentation. We also had our project in Recreational Tour where we went to The Village Sports Club inside BF Homes in Parañaque. For a sports junkie like me, it was a DREAM! Aside from that, who can forget the Marriage and Family class of the great Dr. Alviar. Though I wasn’t really a Theology loving person, I appreciate all the life lessons with every single meeting. And many other moments during the first semester.

It was also during this year I took in the driver’s seat, I had the task to lead CTHM in quiz bee competitions. On the first competition of the year, I was joined by my protege Chamille Mercado who I personally brought in to the team, we competed at the NLEX: Tara Na Sa Norte Quiz Bee Challenge at Robinson’s Place Manila, we came out as CHAMPIONS! in the competition. Then the following competition, I competed again in the PHILTOA Quiz Bee, alongside Chamille, we were joined by Miah Kogami who came into the team later. We did manage to get into the semi-finals. I barely made it to the Top 10, as both Chamille and Miah fell short. So I was all by my own representing UST, for the Final Round at the SMX Convention Center. I fought hard during the competition, I almost won the whole thing, but I had to settle for a second place finish behind my healthy rival Lorraine Padilla from Lyceum of the Philippines University-Manila. After that, I thought of retiring from competition and pass on the torch to my teammates. However as fate turned out, both of my teammates headed to Korea for their international tour which fell on the date of the competitions. I had no other choice but to compete for one last run. So yeah, I was back at it again for the 2014 UFTE Cup held at the Our Lady of Fatima University-Quezon City campus. There were familiar faces alongside new faces. It was a tightly fought battle, but fortunately in the end. I came out as CHAMPION! It was my first and only time I came out as champion competing as an individual. The following day, I came out to compete for the last time to defend the title at the UP Club for the Environment and Tourism Domestikwhiz 2014. I was joined by new teammates as my original teammates at that time just arrived from Korea in Camilla de Guzman and Lia Ciaris Tani. We started out badly, we were trailing for most of the competition, we got into the final round trailing, but we made a furious comeback and in the end, we came out as CHAMPIONS! once again and we got to defend the title. Those two days, were the most memorable days of my competition career. I came in not expecting much, but in the end God had other plans. It was indeed a magical way to cap off my run in competition. I retired on a high note!

Well aside from that, it was a last for everything else. I spent my final Paskuhan where there was no fireworks since the country was coming off the tragedy that was Typhoon Yolanda as the money for it was instead donated to victims of the typhoon. UST had a magical run to the Finals in men’s basketball, before falling short in a epic three game series against La Salle, it was a bittersweet feeling for me that we came close to celebrating a title on my last year at the university. We also had our retreat at Caleruega where I spent it with my classmates and the peeps from H5. We all had a good time, getting to know each other and having time to relax from the stress of school life.

Before I knew it, I was about to graduate. I finished everything. Time flew by very fast. Then came the waiting game. For the last time, I was honored for my success at the college level as I was given a special award at the CTHM Awards Night. Days later, it was the day of the baccalaureate mass, where we got to spend the day together with the 8,236 strong graduates from all colleges of the university. But before that, there was the announcement of the Latin Honors. At the back of my head, I was thinking I fell short again and I won’t make it. Yet, my name was called. I made it! All the emotions came through my head, accompanied by the nice cheers from all of my classmates and batchmates. At the afternoon, the baccalaureate mass happened. History shows that CTHM being the youngest college in the University were seated at the back side near the side of the Benavides Garden, and would be the last to exit the arch. However this year’s different. We were seated up-front and we would be the 4th college to exit the Arch of the Centuries. The night was capped off with the pyromusical with the theme from the hit Disney movie Frozen. I would say it was the most memorable fireworks display I have ever seen.

Then on March 27, 2014. It was the big day! The Solemn Investiture. Graduation. Whatever else you can call it. We assembled as one batch for the last time at the Albertus Magnus Building to wait for the ceremony and strap in our togas. We marched from the building to the Quadricentennial Pavilion for the Solemn Investiture. It was the culmination for all the hard work we’ve done the past four years. As expected, we marched for the conferment of the degrees, turned the tussle to signify our graduation and I was awarded with the Cum Laude medal. Then came the final surprises. On the part of the special awards, they started to mention all the winnings I got over the past year. I got another medal! A special award for all my contributions the past year. Then came the kicker! For all the contributions I brought into the college and being a perennial champion. I was given the sole distinction of the St. Hyacinth Award. I will never forget the cheers from every one of my classmates and batchmates who were witness to everything. I eventually put in a tearjerker moment when I came out to hug my grandmother, later I found from some of my friends, that moment made them cry. After we sang the UST Hymn for the last time as students. Before you know it, IT WAS ALL OVER!

So Yeah What’s Next For K-Smoove?

What’s next?!? Well, right now I’ll be taking the time off to rest. My fourth year life took a lot out of me. Add to the fact that I’m a college graduate without reaching the age of 20 is still lingering in my head. I’ve gone bonkers thinking about it. Besides, I want to enjoy myself without worrying about work for a good amount of time. Add to the fact I want to get the 2013-14 NBA season done and over, and see where will my team the Houston Rockets will go into the playoffs. I’m not bluffing about this. I really needed the time. I know some people want to get a job right away, but I’m in no rush to do so. I will get myself ready for the real world while taking the time off.

My Deepest and Sincere Gratitudes!

Well, before I cap this long entry, I like to offer my gratitude to everyone who were a part of this journey.

First off I would like to thank my friends from other colleges that I have met along the way. I may not remember you all by name, but you made a difference in my life at the university. Notable mentions to Alex Cerado of Pharmacy, Jonathan Genilla of Nursing, Sam Cada of Engineering, Kaiz del Mundo of Architecture, Camille dela Cruz of Engineering, Alexis Tivi of Accountancy, Errol Agacer of Education, Carlo Restoles of Music, Mel Agbulos of Commerce, as well as the TNK peeps whom I spent a good year with during the days at the old Tinoko Park and Botanical Garden. At the same time my high school batchmates from Claret who were also in UST. Notable mentions to German Salvador, Gelo Cruz, Rainier Ples, Nur Adiong, Patrick Foria, Siops Briones, Philip Abeleda, Albie Peralta, Edgar Ramos, Stephen Marcelo, Derrick Espinosa, Raymund Salumbides among others.

Next I’d like to thank my fellow students from other levels of CTHM for the fact I left inspiration to you guys. I wish you all the best in your student endeavors. Notable mentions to my homie Paolo de Guzman, Divine Reyes, Rochelle Engalan, Aya Lorenzo, Danica Esquilona, Dan Quiaoit, Angela Sonico, Janelle Payumo, Darlene Serran, Christine Calzada, Ina Venzuela, Sean Belbis, Vianca Castillo, Radja Castelo, Carla Bonifacio, Leo del Rosario, among others.

I would also like to thank my quiz bee teammates over the last two years years. Thank you for the opportunity to share this experience with you fellas. The run as a quiz bee competitor is something I will never forget. My mentions to Ate Kriskyn Cabrera, Ate Marian Buenaventura, Chamille Mercado, Miah Kogami, Camilla de Guzman and Lia Ciaris Tani.

Then I would like to thank the “Best Batch Ever!”, UST-CTHM Batch 2014. I may have known most of you along the way, though there were some I wasn’t able to know. I am always thankful that I was able to bring joy and honor to the batch. I couldn’t ask for more.

Notable mentions to Brandon Esperancilla, Rolando Sio, James Jandusay, Arvi Cabugao, Mico-Ehlo Chua, Jhie Berbano, Jeli Cadiogan, Shae Jose, Mimi Albesa, Naria San Juan, Rina Bingcang, Josh Naraja, Cha Sumbillo, Che Solis, RA Logana, Korine Sanchez, Fats Infante, Mel Uy, Lyka dela Cruz, Bianca Lim, Lizette Vicente, Nicole Voll, Mara Torres, Justin Babina, Luigi Antonio, Renz Cabiles, JR Rellama, Gelo Soriano, Jeremy Doinog, Kim Besin, Margie Barretto, Arny Fernandez, Micolo Palma, Gabs Jaymalin, Kenneth Cruz, Carlo Ramirez, Steffy Villalon, Den Gallardo, Dominic Dizon, Edward Queipo, Christopher Tamayo, Sese Sibal, Nicolie Tancioco, Marc Acob, Ervin Francisco, Edgar Lumawig, Dion Magahis, Belle Buendia, Matthew Cagas, Eycee Cabriga, Fonso Mercado, Jay Armocilla, Dos Bustillos, Popoi Valdez, Tin Caguimbal, my twin Matthew Villarama, Daryl Arceta, Nikki Deang, Charles Lobo, Elo Magas, Heather McNaughton.

My Marsman friends Denise Bersamina, Harley Abaño, Eden Magsino, Kuya Armand Villanueva, Klaire Villena. 

My CTHM-Claretian batchmates in Ziggy Chavez, Clarence Casem, TJ Abaquita, Ejay Clasara, Miggy Borromeo, as well as the two who left Naj Castro and Habi Santos-Cuyugan.

If I forgot to mention you, forgive me. But even though your names are not on, I’m thankful to each and everyone who made up UST CTHM Batch 2014, from those who made it and who fell short at the goal.


I would also dearly would love to thank the “Best Section Ever” in my book, The T5 family! I’d like to thank each and everyone who were a part of this section. For their unending support, in all of my competitions. It may not be the perfect section to be with, but they were the best family in school I could have. We could all have our differences, but we go the distance when we do things together and do wonders! I’ll never forget when majority of the contestants in UFTE of 2013 came from our section. So I’m giving a mention to everyone who were a part of this section. (Tropa! You will be honored later.)

Fatima Acuña, Trixia Alda, Hosanna Baek, Mela Balag, Ronileen Bauto, Badeth Bertulfo, Katlyne Bundal, Amethy Casal, Pricilla Cruz, JC España, Gui Echon, Jessica Eya, Abigael Ferrer, Ellah Galvez, Alyssa Garcia, Michelle Guo, Diane Jamero, Sheila Lao, Beah Legaspi, Jeruinne Ludovico, Kate Macabanti, Kristel Malabrigo, Mai Matienzo, Dek Mindanao, Hannah Natividad, Carmina Ngo, Justine Nieto, Rosary Ocampo, Era Padilla, Dja Patubo, Shane Prepotente, Precious Rigor, Angel Santos, Cza Sanvictores, Rejh Sasis, Hazel Sta. Maria, Jeanie Tan, Kim Tecson, Arjay Trillana, Kath Vasquez, She Velasco, Pauline Vergara and Lak Villanueva.

Speaking of “Tropa”, I wholeheartedly would like to thank the best group of friends I could have in my college life. Without you fellas, my Thomasian journey would never be complete. The “Tropa-GUISE”. We’re one large group! Best thing about our group is that when one leaves, another one comes in. But those who leave are never forgotten. You are the special bunch who made my college life very special! I will never forget each and every one of you! Majority of the moments I had in college was spent with you fellas. I hope that moving forward, we could keep in touch!

My very honorable mentions to you fellas:
Jean Bituin, Claudine Caganda, Cae Capiz, Kym Constante, Riana de Guzman, Ish Dumawal, Nicole Garcia, Krishna Kabigting, Marrick Magana, Deece Ramos, Yna Salamat, Marx Tapalla, Gie Wenceslao and honorary member Cyril Laurio.

I would also love to thank all of our mentors over the years. For giving us the wisdom and knowledge to be well-equipped with our chosen career path. You have inspired us to do well moving forward as we leave the portals of the university. I may not mention everyone but.


My honorable mentions are for the following mentors:

To Sir Alvin Ringgo Reyes, Sir Robert Arenas, Sir Jojo Villamin, Sir Mar Mendoza, Sir Ernest Alcano, Ma’am Rosh Raichandani, Sir Wil Josue and the rest of the CTHM faculty over my four year stay at the university. Thank you for giving us the inspiration and the wisdom in our daily endeavors as students as well as the skills needed as we set to go out to the real world.

To all my coaches in quiz bee competitions, Ma’am Connie Ang, Ma’am Christine Fajardo, Ma’am Jane Devanadera, Ma’am Amy Turaray and Ma’am Karla Colmenar. For giving us the wisdom and determination to be well-prepared for each and every competition we have competed. Without you my dear mentors, I wouldn’t have reached this point. A very honorable mention to Ma’am Joreen Rocamora, for putting faith in a guy who wasn’t even in the Top 50 of the class that he would be able to do well in competitions. Without your trust, I wouldn’t have won these competitions I joined with over the last two years.

Of course a my highest honorable mention to Sir Gene Michael Atanacio, who was my Philippine History and Rizal Course instructor. And a fellow Claretian. Thank you for all the times we spent inside and outside of campus. Looking forward to going out again when we have the time to do so. I have been very inspired by your teachings and ideals over the time we spent. You know that very well. Even though you left UST in the middle of my second year, we still kept in good touch. I am forever grateful to have been one of your students.

Then of course the CTHM Administration, to Sir Granado, our college secretary and was once our adviser in 3rd Year, you have inspired me to push forward in every endeavor I have done. To Ma’am Vangie Timbang, the HRM chairperson who also supported my endeavors whenever I compete. To Sir Win Medina, our chairperson and was also my adviser in 2nd Year, for giving me the opportunity to compete for the college and the university in quiz bee competitions. It was indeed a great honor to do something good for the university. To Dean Tio Cuison, without your approval when I applied for my reconsideration in CTHM, I wouldn’t be here in the first place. I did not let you down ever since! And of course to Fr. Roy Rodriguez, OP our regent, for the undying support in all of my quiz bee endeavors at the same time an inspiration for me moving forward in my life.

My very special mentions to my family, my parents Ronnie and Janet. As well as my two brothers Andrei and Miguel. They have been my support system since Day 1. Without them, I wouldn’t even be standing here at this moment in life. Thank you for being there through my roller-coaster journey. I’m sure you will continue this as we move forward. Also includes my relatives from both the Carandang and the Reyes sides of the family, they have been an extended support system for me. Everything I have done is also a tribute to my late brother Alexis who passed away almost 14 years ago at the age of 1. Every time I point my head up in the sky, it’s all for him.

Lastly, I like to thank God for all the blessings that I have received over the four years of my college life. Without his guidance and support, I wouldn’t even be here. I wouldn’t have the passion and desire that I carried over the last four years. I look forward to his everlasting guidance as I move on to the next stage of my life.

To end this long blog entry, let me take a quote from former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich:

“We had nonbelievers all along the way, and I have one thing to say to those nonbelievers: Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion!”
 
This has been my credo in my entire life. I’ve used this quote a countless number of occasions. In life, there will always be critics. I have encountered a lot of them in my entire life. I use every criticism to inspire myself to do better. Now I’m about to go down the hill and start all over again, I will continue to inspire myself from every criticism to make my self a better person for the world to see.
 
With that I end this entry, forgive me if I don’t put up photos, because the last time I did this four years ago, I had to do it on a Facebook note page where there wasn’t an option to put photos in and I’m not calling myself K-Smoove here. So I end with a few lines.
 
This has been Karl Danielle R. Carandang
A Proud Thomasian Travel Management Alumnus
Signing off.
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Capping off the greatest ride of my life.

I never saw it coming. I never expected I’d be embarking on what would become one of the best two day stretches of my life. Because prior to it all, I never expected that much. I knew I wasn’t able to prepare well enough for what I will embark and pursue to accomplish. But I know this will be my last ride, capping off a great run I had the past two years. Yet, for those two days, everything happened like it was a good night’s dream.

It all began on a Friday, February 28 at the Our Lady of Fatima University campus in Lagro, Quezon City. I took a short bus ride from my home to get there, and it would be the first time I will meet the rest of the team who will be there with me competing at the 2014 UFTE Cup. In last year’s tournament, together with some of my classmates and batchmates, we competed at the Treston International College campus in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. I finished second in the quiz bee competition, losing valiantly to a better man from De La Salle University-Dasmariñas. In the lead-up to the biggest final test I will have competing as an individual, I saw some familiar faces and saw new ones. Winning it all wasn’t in my head. I’d just wanted to put up a great fight. Then almost mid-day, the competition began. I fought against 28 fellow students from colleges and universities across the Philippines. It was a tightly contested contest, I didn’t knew where I am standing with the rest of them during the entire course of the competition. When the dust settled, the scores came out, and I won it! by three points over the lady and a good friend of mine from Lyceum of the Philippines University-Manila Lorraine Padilla who beat me in the PHILTOA Quiz Bee last year. I never saw it coming. It was an emotional victory for me as it was the first and only time I won a competition as an individual.

Then more blessings came along for our team, as the Tour Packaging pair of Angela Sonico and Janelle Payumo from class 3T1 won also, while the Domestic Tour Guiding participant Danica Esquilona also from 3T1 won. While Dan Quiaoit and Miya Morelos put up a good fight in their International Tour and Kasuotang Pinoy competitions respectively. The cherry on the ice cream is that we won second place in the overall standings which was won by Lyceum of the Philippines University-Manila who won for the second straight year.

Then the following day, with less rest coming into the next competition as the program last night finished unfashionably late into the night. I went in again, took a ride from home to the DENR Building also in Quezon City for the last competition I will embark on, the UP Club for the Environment & Tourism Domestikwhiz 2014. We were coming in as the defending champions where I was also a part of the team which won last year. The team this year, is a bit different from the team I started with the year, since both of them from the original team were unable to go since they were coming off a trip from South Korea. So I came in with a team composed of myself, Camilla de Guzman and Lia Tani both from class 2T3. This year’s competition is smaller than previous years as only 6 schools competed. We struggled out of the gates to start the competition, we had a tough time as our competitors gained ground on us. But we were able to do enough to get into the final round with 3 schools competing. We were happy that we will get a place at the end of the day, then in the final round, we made our move. We were able to recover all lost ground, when it all was said and done! We defended the title! It was a special feeling for me to defend a championship we won. We never saw it coming, yet we were there on top of the mountain once again!

Photo ©Karl Carandang
 
With that great run I had over these two wonderful days, my run as a quiz bee competitor for the University of Santo Tomas – College of Tourism and Hospitality Management came to an end. At the end of it all, the statline I compiled over the last two years:
1-time semi-finalist
1-time Third Placer
2-time Runner-Up (both as an individual)
5-TIME CHAMPION (4 as a group, 1 as an individual)
(4-0 when a competition was held in my hometown of Quezon City)
These would have not been possible without the help of the CTHM Administration led by Dean Tio Cuison, Sir Win Medina, Sir Granado as well as Fr. Roy Rodriguez our Regent who gave me the opportunity to compete not only for the college but for the university. To all my coaches over the years, Ma’am Connie Ang, Ma’am Tin Fajardo, Ma’am Amy Turaray, Ma’am Jane Devanadera, Ma’am Karla Colmenar for giving us the wisdom in all our endeavors during the times we competed, and a special mention to Ma’am Joreen Rocamora (who’s now in De La Salle Lipa) for believing in a guy who wasn’t even in the Top 50 of the batch to compete on the biggest of these stages. To all my classmates, my 4T5 family who have been there to cheer me on even if they’re not in body to be at all my competitions, to my fellow batchmates who will graduate soon, to the people who I joined this journey in, my teammates over the years Ate Kriskyn Cabrera, Ate Marian Buenaventura, Chamille Mercado, Miah Kogami, Camilla de Guzman and Lia Tani. To my family who supported me from the very beginning. And lastly, to God for all the blessings I got over this two-year stretch.
So with all of that, the greatest ride of my life comes to an end. 
This has been Karl Carandang, competing for UST-CTHM signing off.
The ride ends with a bang!
K-Smoove

The monsoon gave me a chance to catch up on things.

This is my 200th blog entry since I opened this blog over a year ago. It’s been almost two months since I last wrote an entry here. Never did I think, that I’m writing this one in the middle of the monsoon rains that is caused by the typhoon up north in Taiwan. Well, the rains caused suspension of classes which opened up time for me to write this one. So yeah, as the title goes, it’s time for me to catch up on some of the things that happened from the time I wrote my last entry almost 6 weeks ago.

We start back on the week after the retreat, least did I expect that the lessons I got from the retreat would not kick in right away. I was hoping to come out swinging afterwards. But it wasn’t easy and I still had difficulty in catching up with things. But yeah, I was reminded that “storms” in our life will come after the retreat and so I calmed down and re-channel my attention on the important matters.

Then later in the week, another competition came along for me, the first one for the year which was the NLEX Tara Na Sa Norte Quiz Bee at the Atrium in Robinson’s Place Ermita Manila. I competed with a pair, which was my recruit from the third year Chamille. 9 schools competed in the competition. Well, it took awhile to finish the competition as there were a lot of controversies with regards with the questions. Despite that, it was a tightly contested battle. In the end however, we came out as champions by a mere solitary point. So we took home the cash prize of P5,000 which we later split as well as a certificate at the same time we had a celebratory meal at Yellow Cab. Then a couple of days later, our victory got put on a tarpaulin outside of our building.

Photo ©Karl Carandang
 
Driven by the recent victory, I slowly made my comeback bid a reality as I was able to find comfort in doing all the necessary schoolwork that I need to accomplish and I was able to contribute better in each project and homework that we have as the days progressed well until the end of the preliminary period of the semester. We also continued with our thesis work within the past couple of weeks. At the same time, my training continued as we prepared for the biggest competition in the semester and the most difficult and challenging quiz bee for the year which is the PHILTOA Quiz Bee exam, so it was me, Chamille and we were joined by Miah who was also a third year student. Then on August 7, we competed at the campus of Lyceum of the Philippines University in Intramuros. Just like the story last year, we all made it through the semi-finals. However, this version of the story had a change from last year. With my back against the wall, I was able to make it through withing the inch of my life to the Final Round on September 7 at the SMX Convention Center because I sat 9th out of the Top 10 that made it through to the Final Round. Unfortunately, my two other teammates were unable to make it through. Yet despite that, they gained experience in competing. We got something special coming up especially with more competitions lined up in the next semester.
 
Meanwhile outside of the life at school, as one of the many hoop junkies in this country, at the start of August, Filipino basketball fans were in for a great treat as the FIBA Asia Championship was held here in the country as three spots were on the line to represent Asia in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2014 in Spain. It was also an opportunity for Filipinos to come out with their full support for the national team which is famously known as Gilas Pilipinas. Filipino basketball fans were not left disappointed as Gilas was able to gain the silver medal which marked the first time the Philippines finished at the podium of the FIBA Asia Championship and secure a ticket to the Basketball World Cup for the first time since 1978 when the country hosted the event. From the early heartbreaking setback against Chinese Taipei, to the chants of “Puso”, “Laban Pilipinas” and “Gary” (David) that rained down at the Mall of Asia Arena, to the emotional semi-final victory against long time archrival-tormentor in South Korea, and giving the eventual champions Iran a good fight for the gold. This tournament will always be remembered by a lot of Filipino basketball fans of this generation.
 
Photo ©Yahoo! Sports
 
Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t able to watch a single game live at the Mall of Asia Arena during the duration of the tournament, at the same time I have yet to watch a UST game this season. I also made it a point that I won’t watch an UST-Ateneo game again this season as three of the four games I’ve watched live were this matchup. Also, the Philippines was visited by NBA players from LeBron James in July to Kobe Bryant in August. However, there was one event that I was able to come to and that was the NBA 3X event at the Mall of Asia Music Hall where I saw James Harden and Eric Gordon in person. Fortunately, I was wearing an adidas shoe at the venue, and I was able to get a photo signed by Eric Gordon. Even though I didn’t end up with an autograph of Harden, I walked away happy and at least I got a photo of him.
 
Photos ©Karl Carandang
 
Well, there are still a lot of events coming up, from Derrick Rose coming over to Manila this September to promote for Adidas. As well as the anticipated NBA Global Games Philippines at the Mall of Asia Arena on October 10 as my favorite team the Houston Rockets will battle Eastern Conference finalists the Indiana Pacers in a fun match-up between teams that have loaded up their roster in the off-season as James Harden, Dwight Howard, Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons and the rest of the Rockets will battle the likes of Paul George, Roy Hibbert, George Hill, David West, Danny Granger and the rest of the Pacers. I’m fortunate that I’ll bear witness to history in the making as this is the first NBA pre-season game to be held in the country.
 
As of this moment, our preliminary examinations has yet to come to an end due to the fact that classes have been suspended due to the inclement weather across Metro Manila and nearby provinces. We’ve already finished four days of exams which also included our mock defense for our Thesis. While some are already done with their exams like my younger brother also in UST, I still have to take two more exams. With every suspension, a day is lost in the preparation time for the competition I’ll be competing in next month, at the same time my fear that there will be classes come October 10 could come true.
But then again, safety is above anything else and the fact that we should look after those that were affected by the widespread flooding. We’ll get through this tragic moment with our heads up high and the sun will rise again. Of course, I send my prayers to those who were gravely affected by the heavy flooding as well as the sinking of a passenger vessel in Cebu almost a week ago.
In the meantime, I’ll do something a Filipino is well know for which is finding happiness in tragic moments by looking back at the Claretian Dictionary from my days in my high school Alma Mater as I write on this Throwback Thursday. Well, the title states that it was time for me to catch up on things and now I did. I hope y’all stay safe and I take a line from the movie 3 Idiots “Aal izz well!”
Laban Pilipinas! Puso!
We will rise again.
K-Smoove

Thankful for every opportunity and chance to go all in.

It all began last July, when I was called in to compete for the very first time. Seven months later, four competitions in tow, already tested and proven, battlescars all over. It all came down on this hot Friday morning in Taguig. It was my last competition for the school year. As I represented the university at the 7th National Tourism Students Congress Quiz Bee organized by UFTE and UFTS.

But before all of that, on the day before probably, the biggest day of my life, with a team of 7 including 1 coach, we began our journey from UST to the campus of Treston International College in Taguig City. As we all had to go through the elimination rounds of the competition. With me competing the Quiz Bee, I was joined by my blockmates Jeanie Tan and Kimberly Tecson who competed in the Domestic Tour Package Proposal, Trudeece Ramos and Katlyne Bundal who competed in the International Tour Package Proposal. We were also joined by our batchmates Jr Sio who competed in the International Tour Guiding competition, and Jhie Berbano who competed in the Domestic Tour Guiding Competition. Accompanying us was our coach/mentor/mother Ms. Jane Devanadera.

When all was said and done, we all came home happy as all of us made it through the eliminations and we‘re all coming back tomorrow to compete in the Finals. I finished second in the elimination round of the Quiz Bee. Three points separated me and the one who topped the elimination round. While the others did a very good job in advancing to the Final Round. Aside from that, we saw some of our former mentors like Ms. Joreen Rocamora who is now in De La Salle Lipa and is one of the reasons I was able to get this far and the one who believed and gave a lot of faith and confidence in all my abilities, as well as Chef Ayie Cordova who is now in FEU.

Also, as the inner hoop junkie kicked in, I was thrilled to see the San Mig Coffee Mixers starring James Yap, Marc Pingris, PJ Simon, Joe Devance, Coach Tim Cone, among others, and I also got to see GlobalPort’s twin towers of Japeth Aguilar and Alex Crisano on the elevator. Too bad I did not have a camera with me so I was unable to take a picture with them.

Then it all came down to that Friday morning, with the seven of us back to compete, we were also joined by three of my blockmates, Shane Prepotente and Sheila Lao who competed in the Poster Making competitionand Trixia Alda who modeled the work of Justine Navato in the Kasuotang Pinoy competition. Aside from them, members of the Students Tourism Society Executive Board also joined us with Brandon Esperancilla and Korine Sanchez.

At around 11 am, together with 10 of my competitors in the Final Round, I stepped into the stage, took a seat, prayed for one last time, and the Quiz Bee began. It was a tightly contested competition, but in the end, I came very close to victory. I would settle for a runner-up finish. Four points separated me from the champion, while the one who finished thirdwas also four points behind me. Afterwards, I congratulated the champion who sat behind me as well as my other competitors for a good fight. The champion who I got to talk to afterwards came from De La Salle UniversityDasmariñas, while the third placer came from Lyceum of the Philippines University-Manila.

When the day was over, we also bagged in other awards. My blockmates Deece and Kat won second place in their International Tour Package Proposal of New Zealand which was a class effort by all of us at 3T5 who conceptualized the Itinerary, Costing, Marketing Video and Brochures that were used in the competition. Also, our batchmate Jr won third place in the International Tour Guiding competition. Jeanie and Kim on the Domestic Tour Package Proposal, Shane and Sheila on their Poster Making competition, Trixia on modeling at the Kasuotang Pinoy competition and Jhie on the Domestic Tour Guiding all did a good job and a valiant efforteven though they did not make it to the Top 3. Aside from that, we finished 4th Runner-Up Overall in the Skills Olympics which was won by Lyceum of the PhilippinesUniversityManila.Afterwards, we all went for one thanksgiving dinner in Chowking at the nearby Market! Market!

So yeah, what has been a great year for me competing has come to an end. I competed in five competitions this year. The last three all came within a span of less than a month. Two championships, one runner-up finish, one third place finish and one semi-finals appearance. It was indeed a great and learning experience for me.

I would like to thank all our mentors Ma’am Jane Devanadera who was a “motherly” figure to all of us through the last few days as well as Ma’am Christine Cabigao. Also, we would like to thank our families, our classmates (especially my block 3T5), our batchmates, and the entire CTHM and Thomasian community for all their support and prayers throughout the last couple of months in the journey we all took to this moment.

Finally we Thank God for all the blessings and the inspiration you have given us throughout these past few months. It is indeed very overwhelming on my part to have made it this far from the time this all began last year.

Next year, I wish I can play a part on improving our chances in winning competitions, especially now, I’ll be the only one left from our quiz bee team this year as both my teammates will be graduating this month. I took into heart what our mentors both old and new said over these two days in Taguig. Like every opportunity that I had this year, I hope I’ll get the opportunity once again to be a part of something BIG and bring glory to the university once again. That’s why I‘m saying to myself time and time again I’m all in for UST!

Now, it’s back to reality for me as we wind down on this school year. There is plenty more work to do right now. Projects to pass, papers to defend, exams to pass, get certifications and all those things. For now, I’ll savor this moment. For tomorrow, it’s back to work again!

Thankful and Blessed! Opportunities taken have bear fruit.
K-Smoove

For the last time as one team, we came out as CHAMPIONS! Well they’re in the Land of the Morning Calm, while I’m one of those staying behind.

Last Saturday February 16, for the very last time as one team, we competed on our final competition on a hot morning at the DENR Social Hall in Quezon City as we competed in the Domestikwhiz 2013 organized by the UP Club for Environment and Tourism.

We competed against eight schools from all over the Metro in this quiz bee. Like in the other contests, we came out swinging and got off to a great start as we got a good lead early, however in the final round the questions grew tougher and we failed to answer some questions, at the same time there were questions where no one got the right answer. At the end of the competition, we thought we haven’t done good enough. The emotion of defeat and the feeling of Baguio all over again was in us. However, faith had other plans for our team, as we came out as the CHAMPIONS in the Domestikwhiz 2013! It was indeed a heavy feeling being lifted away from us after the winners were announced.

Photo ©Kriskyn Cabrera

So we took home medals for each of us, a trophy, Moonleaf planners, and a cash prize which we got to share later on. It was a great feeling that we got to end our journey together on a high note. After the contest, we returned to UST where in CTHM it was interview season all over again as prospective high school students took their chance to get into UST-CTHM where we showed up with the admin. Also we got to enjoy one final lunch as one team at Yellow Cab.

So yes, our journey has come to an end as both of my senior teammates will now focus on the final months of their España journeys. So, I will take this moment to once again thank my teammates Ate Kriskyn Cabrera and Ate Marian Buenaventura. I would have not made it this far without you fellas and I’m going to miss you both as teammates. I couldn’t ask more of you as being great teammates. It was indeed a great honor and privilege to meet you both. Don’t worry I’ll be fine from here on out. as I prep up for my last competition which will be the UFTE at the end of the month.

Also, we would like to once again thank our mentors, Ma’am Tin and Ma’am Jane. As well as our families, our classmates, our friends, our batchmates and the entire CTHM and Thomasian community for all the support and prayers. This would have never been possible without all the love and support you have given us.

As always, we Thank God for the opportunity and all the blessings you have given us throughout this process, and for the last time as one team we came out as CHAMPIONS!

Meanwhile, well most of my blockmates as well as some of my batchmates are right now in the Land of the Morning Calm South Korea as part of the international tour. However, I’m still right here in the Philippines since I wasn’t able to afford the tour because of the high cost to get there as well as the winter clothing needed to survive the very cold weather there.

Well, it will be still an interesting week though, since only 12 of us in the class are left behind here in the Philippines. I can’t wait to see how this week will play out as well as the short schedule as some of our mentors are with the group in Korea.

IN OUR LAST HURRAH, WE CAME OUT ON TOP! But the job is not done!
K-Smoove

The City of Pines experience, all in for the glory.

Last February 9, after all the preparation and the long training hours leading up to this, it all came down to one day. As we competed in the 2nd National League of Tourism Students of the Philippines Skills Olympics 2013 held at the University of Baguio campus in Baguio City.

We arrived in The City of Pines, the day prior to the competition in the afternoon after a 6 hour trip from Manila. We stayed at the Hotel Veniz at the center of the city, which gave me fond memories of my last trips to Baguio which I had not visited for the last 3 years. As expected, we got a feel of the cool weather the city experiences, it was indeed an escape from the sometimes hot weather in Manila. We spent dinner at Tokyo Tokyo in SM City Baguio and also spent the night doing our final reviews for the competitions we‘ll be competing on the next day.

Then the following day, after breakfast at the hotel, we checked-out of the hotel, but kept our luggage at the lobby at the hotel for safekeeping and then went to the campus of the University of Baguio for the competitions. We had the smallest contingent in Baguio as it was only nine of us (7 students, 2 mentors) representing UST. Once again, our quiz bee team composed of my two seniors Kriskyn Cabrera, Marian Buenaventura and yours trulycompeted in the Tourism Quiz Bee. In the elimination round, we came out on top answering all but four of the 20 questions to advance to the final round. Unfortunately in the final round, we settled for a third place finish as we only got 3 of the 10 questions. The contest was won by the contestants from Far Eastern University while the contestants from St. Louis University Baguiofinished in second place.

It wasn’t only us who competed in Baguio for the Skills Olympics, two of my classmates Jeanie Tan and Kimberly Tecson competed in the Tour Package Propsal competition, they finished in second place together with the participants from Far Eastern University. The biggest winner of the day was our batchmate Jr Sio who won first place in the Virtual Tour Guiding International Category. Let us not also forget the effort put up by our batchmate Lyka dela Cruz who competed in the Virtual Tour Guiding Domestic Category.

 Photo ©Karl Carandang
 
After the competition, we went to the Baguio City Market to buy some souvenirs to bring home to our families and friends. I was able to buy the famous Ube Jam and Peanut Brittle as well as some bonnets. Then we went on a celebratory dinner at Max’s in SM City Baguio. Before we boarded our bus back to Manila, we went to the night market along Harrison Road to buy some souvenirs (as well look for winter clothing especially that the international tour to Korea my blockmates will be attending is closing in). Afterwards, we went to the terminal and boarded the bus for the 6 hour trip back to Manila.
 
This experience is something special for me, since this trip to the City of Pines is like a consolation for me due to the fact that I will not be joining my friends, classmates and batchmates in Seoul, South Korea next week for their international tour as I got to experience cool weather (not as cold as in Korea this time of the year) and the fact I get to experience this with great company. It is indeed a great honor to represent the college and the university in this competition as well as once again bringing glory for the university. Like last time, I have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
 
So it’s one down and two more to go for me, though the job is not done yet and there are a couple of competitions to go, I’d like to thank once again our mentors Ma’am Jane Devanadera and Maam Christine Cabigao as well as members of the faculty and the CTHM administrationfor being a great inspiration to each and every one of us who competed in these competitions.
 
We would also like to thank our families, our classmates, our friends, our batchmates and the entire CTHM and Thomasian community for all the support and prayers. We would have not made it this far without all the love and support you have given us. Please continue supporting us in the upcoming competitions that we will be having next including the Domestikwhiz Quiz Bee this Saturday, it will be the last hurrah of our quiz bee team as for the last contest, it will be myself representing UST at the UFTE Quiz Bee at the end of the month.
 
As always, we Thank God for the opportunity and all the blessings you have given us throughout this process.
 
WE MAY HAVE NOT WON ALL CONTESTS, BUT AT LEAST WE DID NOT GO HOME EMPTY. THE CAMARADERIE LIVES ON! TEAM UST-CTHM!
K-Smoove

CAMPEONE! UST GROWLING TIGERS: 2012 PCCL CHAMPIONS

UST Growling Tigers
2012 PCCL CHAMPIONS
Photo ©GMA News Online


Last Friday, 57 days after suffering a bitter defeat in the UAAP Finals. The UST Growling Tigers got their revenge on the the team they lost to in the UAAP Finals this year, the Ateneo Blue Eagles as for the first time ever the Growling Tigers are the “NATIONAL CHAMPIONS” and the “BEST COLLEGIATE TEAM in the PHILIPPINES” this year as they win in the 2012 Philippine Collegiate Champions League Finals in Game 3 of the Finals series 81-76 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City, taking the Finals series 2-1. Their win in the PCCL brought cheers to the Thomasian community who came out once again in full force at the Ynares Sports Arena and the Growling Tigers never disappointed the strong contingent in YELLOW, bringing them something to celebrate, after their tough defeat in the UAAP a few weeks back.

Jeric Teng led the Growling Tigers in Game 3 scoring 13 of his game-high 22 points in the critical fourth quarter, Kevin Ferrer added 21 points while Jeric Fortuna added 11 points in his final game in a UST Growling Tigers uniform.

Kiefer Ravena and Ryan Buenafe led the Blue Eagles with 20 points each, while Greg Slaughter who played his final game in a Blue Eagles uniform added 11 points.

After the game, in a show of sportsmanship. Karim Abdul traded jerseys with Slaughter and wore it as a tribute to the battles these two men faced in the last two years.

Teng was named the Finals MVP of the tournament, while Fortuna and Karim Abdul were named in the Mythical Five alongside Teng and Ateneo’s Ravena and Slaughter. While UST Head Coach Pido Jarencio was named Coach of the Year.

The Growling Tigers took home the Manuel V. Pangilinan Perpetual Trophy which they will keep for one whole year, as well as a replica of the trophy, and P700,000 worth of prizes for the school.

“Nakabawi din sa kanila.Jeric Teng

“It’s nice to play our last game for UST with a championship. – Jeric Fortuna

“I’ve always wanted to have his (Slaughter) jersey.” Karim Abdul

“This one’s for the UST community and the people who supported us all along.  – Coach Pido Jarencio

Box score:

UST (81) – Teng 22, Ferrer 21, Fortuna 11, Abdul 8, Bautista 7, Daquioag 6, Afuang 4, Mariano 2, Hainga 0, Pe 0, Lo 0

Ateneo (76) – Ravena 20, Buenafe 20, Slaughter 11, Salva 9, Elorde 7, Tiongson 5, Sumalinog 3, Chua 1, Golla 0, Gonzaga 0

Yes! The Growling Tigers cap off 2012 with a BANG! A National Championship to cap off the careers of the two graduating players for the Growling Tigers in “The Captain” Jeric Fortuna and Melo Afuang. It is also a prelude of what is to come for the Growling Tigers next year as they will move on to preparations for UAAP Season 76 with a virtually intact core led by Jeric Teng, Karim Abdul, Aljon Mariano, Clark Bautista and Kevin Ferrer.

For now, the Thomasian community can now savor the taste of victory the have long been waiting for to happen. Finally, as a Thomasian, I can savor a victory in basketball. After the bitter defeat in the UAAP Finals, I am very happy and delighted for not only these guys, but also to all my Thomasian PEEPS. FINALLY! We are the CHAMPIONS! With the victory, my FAITH in Philippine collegiate basketball has been RESTORED!

CAMPEONE!
K-Smoove