The better team

ON December 19, 2022, in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 85 Men’s Basketball championship game between the University of the Philippines and the Ateneo de Manila University, the better team lost. I was at the Araneta Coliseum to witness the UP team lose to Ateneo with a score of 68 to 75.

Some may say that I am biased in saying that the UP is the better basketball team. I may have deep roots with my alma mater, UP, having completed my Accounting and Master in Business Administration programs at the said university, but I still firmly believe that UP is the better team.  Others will tell that I am one-sided in stating this due to my UP connections where I had been the Dean of the UP College of Business Administration and am now completing my Doctoral Program in Public Administration (PA) at the UP National College of Public Administration and Governance. You may think that I maintain this pro-UP stance because I have been rooting for the UP team since I was in college way back in the mid-1970s and have seen live their long and far-in-between championship victories in 1986 as well as the May 2022 games. Definitely, I am an avid fan and hence my claim that the UP Maroons are the better team.

Indeed the recently concluded championship games took the full route of the best of three games, with UP winning the first game and Ateneo clawing back to take the next two. It was a contest between two never-say-die squads with the support of their countless fans. For the last game alone, there were 21,814 standing room spectators at the venue. It was a tense but fun-filled game, with the Araneta Coliseum plastered with a sea of blue on one side and a crowd of maroon on the other (with the maroon side having the greater number).

Even before the start of the championship game on Monday, my UP business partner and I were confident that the better team would win. Thus, a few hours before the game, we decided to boldly offer a promotion for our Korean grill restaurant business of granting a 20 percent discount to the UP followers who will dine in our restaurant after the “UP Fight UP Wins” game (  Alas, our beloved team lost…but we will still offer the discount for both the UP as well as Ateneo supporters who will dine in the restaurant. Any takers?

Well, Season 85 is done and finished.  Congratulations to the Ateneo basketball team. You did well in winning this year’s tournament. But I’m sure that the better team will win the UAAP Season 86 championship.

Joel L. Tan-Torres was the former Dean of the University of the Philippines Virata School of Business. Previously, he was the  Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the chairman of the Professional Regulatory Board of Accountancy, and partner of Reyes Tacandong & Co. and the SyCip Gorres and Velayo & Co. He is a Certified Public Accountant who garnered No. 1 in the CPA Board Examination of May 1979. He is now back to his tax practice and can be contacted at


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