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#TWenty: The 2016 TomasinoWeb Year-ender

Remember when we said that 2016 would be our year? It’s just a memory now.

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A letter from the editor

Remember when we said that 2016 would be our year?

It’s just a memory now.

Harambe has been shot dead by authorities at the Cincinnati Zoo and he has put a curse on us all. Misfortune piled upon misfortune. The Growling Tigers tanked terribly in UAAP Season 79. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is dead. Donald Trump is US President.

Can it get even worse?

There was a shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida that left 49 dead. The war on drugs has killed 6,000 people so far (we say “so far,” because President Rodrigo Duterte had asked for an extension of his six-month battle). Oh, and can we even forget – former dictator Ferdinand Marcos has been buried at the heroes’ cemetery.

But has it really been that bad?

We did get Pokémon Go, even if it easily fizzled away. The Metro Manila Film Festival finally showed quality films. UST has achieved a perfect passing rate in the Nursing boards. The Philippines has its third Miss Universe.

This year has seen a lot of good and bad, and we can either thank or curse this unit of time which we incessantly personify in order to project our inner fears, failures and anxieties onto it without taking into account all the logical steps that put us where we are now.

We took a lot of steps this 2016 and yes, some of those steps were on landmines. But our legs have not been fully broken and our will to live has not been completely shattered.

Maybe if we can survive past four or six more years, we can even get to see another supermoon in 2034.

But enough of my babbling: Here is a list of the top 20 people, things and events which left a mark on us this 2016.

Thomasians, Filipino people and citizens of the world, here is #TWenty.

Still alive despite all this,
Xave Gregorio

20. Pulse Nightclub shooting

Around 49 people were killed and 53 others wounded as Omar Mateen opened fire inside Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. He then swore allegiance to the Islamic State in a 911 call.

The incident is considered to be the deadliest mass shooting by one shooter and the deadliest violence against the LGBT community. Mateen was later killed in a shootout with police.

The attack sent waves around the globe and raised safety concerns in the queer community. –Marc Dela Paz

19. Pokémon GO

Huge advancements in gaming defined 2016. Among these is Niantic’s location based augmented reality game that rocked the foundations of those dreaming to be a Pokémon Master the world over.

Pokémon Go was made available to 15 countries in Asia, including the Philippines, in August this year. It took little time for the Thomasian community to flock the 21-hectare campus searching for Pokémon and controlling the two gyms and making good use of the 32 Pokéstops within it.

Although it fizzled out the following months, Pokémon Go served as a stepping-stone for more games which will incorporate the physical, real-world environment.

One can only imagine what 2017 might have in stored for gamers. Augmented reality “Yu-Gi-Oh!”, anyone? – Jordan Thomas Pimentel

18. UST ranks second in employability survey

This year, UST was recognized by Quacquarelli-Symonds (QS) as the second best Philippine university which produces employable graduates.

With a graduate employment rate of 81 points and 90.2 points in employer-student connections, UST entered a spot in the 201+ bracket together with Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) and University of the Philippines (UP).

The University, however, fell to the 33rd place in the QS Employers Presence on Campus ranking with 90.2 points compared to last year’s ranking where UST ranked 17th with 90.3 points. UST also remained in the 701+ bracket in the recent World University Rankings and ranked 157th in Asian University Rankings. – Raye Danielle Peralta

17. First UAAP ballroom dance competition

Many were excited when the UAAP announced before the start of the season that they will be adding ballroom dancing to the list of events this season. Starting off as a demonstration sport, the competition was held at the Quadricentennial Pavillion last Sept. 2.

Students from different universities swarmed the Quadricenntenial Pavillion to show support to their respective schools. Out of the eight UAAP schools, only Far Eastern University did not participate in the event.

Despite rehearsing for only three months, the UST Sinag Ballroom Dance Company was able to capture two podium finishes in the Latin America and standard ballroom category that suited them for the silver medal while the University of the Philippines swept the competition after finishing strong by snagging gold medals in both categories.

Sinag was pleased with how the competition went despite not winning the coveted ballroom dancing crown. Head coach Danilo Gagani was happy with the performance, stating that it was a good start for the relatively young squad to finish with flying colors. Julian Elona and Patricia Isabella Romarate

16. Supermoon

Stargazers took their cameras and themselves out and marveled at the awe of the moon on November 14th this year.

A “supermoon” happens when the moon becomes full on the same day as the perigee, or the time that it is closest to the earth, says NASA.

But what made this supermoon special is the fact that the moon has not been that close to the earth since January 26, 1948. The next time it comes that close will be in November 2034 says PAGASA. – Jordan Thomas Pimentel

15. Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach

After 47 years, the Miss Universe crown finally comes back home.

Pia Wurtzbach is the third Filipino to win the coveted crown after Gloria Diaz in 1969 and Margarita Moran in 1973. Her win might be one of the most controversial in Miss Universe history because host Steve Harvey mistakenly announced Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez as the winner only to take it back minutes later saying he “made a terrible mistake.”

The half-German beauty is a devout Catholic, but she is very vocal with her advocacy of gender equality. In an Instagram post, she said that although she was raised in a conservative Catholic country she is not afraid to fight for LGBT rights because there is no room for hate anymore.

Many took notice of her grace and beauty, in fact, she was named Google’s most-searched female personality in the Philippines this year. Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo also said last Dec. 20 that Wurtzbach agreed to become the Philippine’s tourism ambassador after her reign.

It might have started out as a mistake but Pia Wurtzbach’s colorful reign would definitely not be forgotten easily. She will pass her crown to the next Miss Universe on January 30, 2017 at the Mall of Asia Arena. – Maria Limjoco

14. Glitchy CSC elections

Evident with its voter’s education seminars and other election related programs, the UST Central Commission on Elections (UST Comelec) was determined to have a successful university-wide elections – successful, until the proclamation of the new set of Central Student Council (CSC) officers was postponed due to a “technical failure.”

On April 22, hours before the proclamation, one of the computers used for canvassing votes crashed, halting the downloading of the file which contained the results of the CSC elections from Blackboard, UST’s online learning portal. The glitch was so bad that Educational Technology Center staff had to ask assistance from Blackboard Australia and Singapore.

It was the first time a technical problem happened since the CSC election was automated in 2009. As expected, the incident drew flak from the Central Board as well as from the candidates.

On April 27, the UST Comelec finally proclaimed the new set of CSC officers with Lakas Tomasino Coalition dominating the elections after winning five out of six posts, including the presidency. – Vince Angelo Ferreras

13. First batch of SHS students

This year was witness to the first batch of senior high school students, following the implementation of the K-12 program initiated by the Aquino administration. The new school year has recorded 1.3 million Grade 11 students in 10 000 schools nationwide.

Among the 1.3 million students are the 5000 who passed through the Arch of the Centuries in the ceremonial Welcome Walk. These students now occupy the Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. Building, which formerly housed the College of Tourism and Hospitality Management and the Faculty of Arts and Letters. – Beatriz Decena

12. Perfect passing rate in Nursing board exams

Hospitals may expect a handful of Thomasian nurses at their doorsteps after this year’s exam results.

As if to end the year with a bang, all the University’s 324 examinees passed the November 2016 nursing board examinations, with UST once again sporting a 100-percent passing rate, earning its second top performance in the boards in a row.

This year, eighteen Thomasian graduates stood in the Top 10 list. UST’s Faith Calzado Rutagines topped the exams with an 86.60-percent rating, sharing the spot with Eric Jacinto from Saint Louis University. – Carisse Niclo Dumaua

11. Vice President Leni Robredo

Before she became vice president, Leni Robredo could be seen riding a bus from Manila to Naga City along with her daughters. Indeed, her simplicity and motherly image has gained admiration from many.

Known for being the wife of the late Department of the Interior and Local Government secretary Jesse Robredo, the former Camarines Sur representative had no plans of taking higher posts in the government. Not until the Liberal Party convinced her to run along its standard bearer Mar Roxas.

Robredo surged in pre-election surveys, battling almost neck and neck with former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos.

This same battle was waged during the elections, where she emerged victorious by a few hundred thousand votes. She finished with 14,418,817 votes while Marcos had 14,155,344.

Despite controversies and her “irreconcilable differences” with the President, she keeps calm and continues to slay every magazine cover. – Vince Angelo Ferrera

10. US President-elect Donald Trump

“I will be the greatest jobs (sic) president that God has ever created,” Donald Trump said on July 16, 2015 – announcing his intention to run for president of the United States.

His scathing remarks on Mexicans, sexist comments and vilification of Muslims made him a controversial icon across the world, and despite all that he was still able to gather a “yuge” number of supporters – but not “yuge” enough to beat Hillary Clinton in the popular vote.

Trump, the standard-bearer of the Republican Party snagged 306 electoral votes, while Democrat Hillary Clinton won a mere 232. –Marc Dela Paz

9. Harambe

A cocktail of negligent parenting, an unusually acrobatic child, a confused silverback gorilla, a gun and the ever present mobile camera spawned what will later go down in history as one of the key moments of the year 2016.

On May 28, a three-year old boy, who apparently took Tarzan and The Jungle Book way too seriously, decided that he will enjoy his trip to the zoo by going inside a gorilla enclosure. Low and behold, the child found himself trapped inside a cage with a 440-pound raw muscle and a bad decision. The Cincinnati Zoo, fearing for the safety of the kid and probably more fearing of a hefty lawsuit, decided that the best course of action is to shoot the gorilla.

And shoot the gorilla they did.

News about cases like this usually sputters out after a few days. However, to everyone’s surprise, the whole fiasco was blown way out of proportion and became an international scandal. Most people cried foul and blamed the parent for being negligent while some supported the decision of the zoo administration. There’s also a few who blame Harambe himself for being there in the enclosure causing all this scandal in the first place. “Aye, that monkey’s crakin up. With ‘ol the business ‘bout dragging that lad across the cage. I spilled me coffee ‘cos of that chimpanzee,” said Bert, one of the visitors of the zoo that fateful day.

Harambe unwittingly became the personification of our society’s repressed love for dark humor and also our ability as a species to be a complete and total jackass by turning harrowing events like this into memes. Vox even declared Harambe as the undeniable “meme of the year”.

It is without the question that Harambe reached a status no man, or animal for that matter, ever achieved before. No creature in the past, present, and possibly the future that will have his own phallic salute. – Jayson Cruz

8. UST hosts UAAP Season 79

he responsibility of hosting the 79th season of the UAAP fell on the shoulders of the University of Santo Tomas and of course, it did not fail to showcase spectacular things.

The season opened last Sept. 3 at the University’s Plaza Mayor, breaking the norm of the annual opening of UAAP season in major arenas in the country.

Institute of Physical Education Administration director Fr. Ermito De Sagon said that the opening ceremony aimed to show Thomasian culture to the athletes in all eight universities who entered through the Arch of the Centuries in their very own Welcome Walk. – Gabriel John Pe and Cyreel Gian Zarate

7. War on Drugs

The Philippines is in a state of war.

More accurately, the Duterte administration had declared an all out war against illegal drugs. This had been one of the most prominent changes promised by President Duterte on the campaign trail, which endeared millions of Filipinos.

He had promised to eradicate drugs within six months. In those six months, more than 6,000 lives of suspected drug pushers and users nationwide. Some of them were killed in anti-narcotics operations, after they allegedly fought police, while some were killed in apparent vigilante killings.

About a third of police operations are being investigated for alleged human rights violations. However, Duterte assured that he will defend all policemen from such charges.

The President had been in headlines both locally and internationally for his hardline measures against drugs which drew criticism from the US and the UN. With every blow of negative feedback, he simply responded with a “F*** you.”

Despite different criticisms, the latest Social Weather Stations survey revealed that he still holds good reputation at home.

In addition, Duterte pushed back the deadline of the war on drugs stating that he will continue “until the last pusher drops dead.”  – Ricmae Dorothy Arellano

6. Mocha Uson

“Anong po ang masasabi niyo, mga ka-DDS?”

Well, Filipinos have a lot to say to Mocha Uson – one of President Duterte’s ever gallant knights online. She made noise through her Facebook page, Mocha Uson Blog, by frequently lambasting established and credible news outlets—from Ateneo de Manila’s Matanglawin, to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, to the New York Times—for allegedly “destabilizing the Philippines.”

The dancer-turned-political analyst also preys on “dilawans,” or people affiliated with the Liberal Party or simply anyone who dares to be critical toward the Duterte administration, and blames them for stratifying the nation by staining the President’s image.

Unbeknownst to some, Uson is actually a Thomasian. She graduated with a degree in Medical Technology at the University, then studied at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery for two years. She dropped out to pursue a career as a singer and later on, the leader of girl group Mocha Girls.

Her online following greatly outnumbers some media organizations – a feat that she is very proud of. Her relentless support for the President, characterized by an apologist rhetoric and misinformation, had triggered online petitions to shut down her page.

However, as she said in her first column on the Philippine Star, she is still free to speak. – Cielo Erikah Mae Cinco

5. Growling Tigers’ worst season

Season 79 has been rough for the UST Growling Tigers. After an unexpected bridesmaid finish last season, the Tigers fell to the bottom of the standing with a dismal 3-11 win-loss record. The Tigers experienced their worst loss in a decade against eventual champions De La Salle Green Archers with a 38-point deficit. When things could not get any worse, it did – the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons beat UST for the first time since Season 69.

The Tigers lost their key players in Kevin Ferrer, Ed Daquioag and Karim Abdul and Embons Bonleon was declared out for the season due to a wrist injury. Even before the season started, the Tigers had to adjust to a new system only three months before the opening of the UAAP Season 79 under Boy Sablan, who replaced Bong dela Cruz after allegations of maltreatment of players and game fixing.

Veterans Louie Vigil and Jamil Sheriff almost did not make it in the lineup after a sudden decision by the league’s board to lower the age limit from 25 to 24. However, after UST contested the decision, Vigil and Sheriff were cleared to play. King Tiger Vigil led the España-based cagers with an average of 13.57 points and 3.14 assists per game. – Chelseia Jeanne Jose

4. The Metro Manila Film Festival lineup

The unveiling of this year’s lineup for the Metro Manila Film Festival is a sight to behold and a hopeful testament to the future of Philippine cinema, serving up an array of entries boasting with timely relevance – something that has been painfully missing in the festival since the start of the last decade.

It’s a much needed palette cleanser after the overextended reign of franchise tent poles and less-than-stimulating blockbusters that have now left a sour taste in some moviegoers’ mouth.

Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2: #ForeverIsNotEnough, Die Beautiful, Kabisera, Oro, Saving Sally, Seklusyon, Sunday Beauty Queen, and Vince & Kath & James; these specially crafted films mark the point in history where the Metro Manila Film Festival tried to take back its rightful glory.

Time will tell if these titles will live up to their potential but if there’s one thing we can all take to the bank, most of these are poised to be better than what we’ve been getting since the start of the recent millennia.
Now, for the sake of Philippine cinema, you should go and watch them. – Isaiah John Mangunay

3. President Rodrigo Duterte

Rodrigo Duterte made headlines even before taking his oath and assuming the country’s highest position. He made bold promises during his presidential campaign, including eradicating illegal drugs in three to six months. His firm stance against criminality and corruption among millions of Filipinos, allowing him to win by a landslide.

His mouth was often crass and undiplomatic as he had cursed Pope Francis, US President Barack Obama, the UN and its Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the European Union, among a long list of other personalities. He had made jokes about raping a nun and being infatuated with Vice President Leni Robredo’s knees and other chauvinistic remarks. These were easily dismissed by his avid supporters as harmless, while critics had put him on blast.

The President was at the center of controversy when Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed hitman, claimed that the long-time mayor of Davao City was the mastermind behind the vigilante group, “Davao Death Squad.” He was again placed under scrutiny after allowing the burial of the late Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Duterte emphasized improved government service during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA). He has issued an executive order for the implementation of the Freedom of Information (FOI). The pending peace negotiations between the government and New People’s Army have resumed. The President has also announced a tax reform plan and a proposed federal government.

Despite dropping four points from the third quarter, he has registered “excellent” in the last Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, with a satisfaction rating of +72. The President recently placed 70th on the “World’s Most Powerful People” list released by Forbes magazine. – Tyra Danielle Aquino

2. Miriam Defensor-Santiago

The year 2016 marked the end of former Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s colorful journey through politics and life.

It was in 2014 when she announced that she was diagnosed with lung cancer and July last year when she said that she was cured. Last year in October, she filed her candidacy for president for the third and last time.

She banked on the power of social media and millennials to catapult her to the presidency.

She had a strong following among students as she topped in election surveys in several universities. However, other sectors of Philippine society were less receptive of her due to her illness, so she tanked in national polls conducted by Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations.

During the three month campaign period she had been barely able to campaign due to fatigue and cancer treatment. She ranked fifth with only 1,455,532 votes. Despite losing in her last attempt to become the president of the Philippines, she remained positive and asked her supporters to do the same.

Four months after the elections, the so-called Iron Lady of Asia died, leaving Filipinos mourning for “the best president we never had.” – Elinor Bola

1. Ferdinand Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani

It was a move by President Duterte which sought to unite the nation – but it proved to be one which fractured it even more.

The Supreme Court’s 9-5-1 ruling in favor of burying former dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig sent people to the streets in protest. When Marcos was clandestinely buried 10 days after the ruling at the heroes’ cemetery, even more went out – outside university campuses, at the People Power Monument and at Luneta Park.

The burial ignited a militant spark in millennials as they led the protests in thousands, carrying witty picket signs with references to popular culture.

While others were indignant, loyalists like the Duterte Youth and Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos was happy with the burial and was grateful for President Duterte’s fulfillment of one of his campaign promises of burying the late dictator whose regime committed thousands of human rights violations.

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Former CSC secretary now president

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Former Central Student Council (CSC) secretary, Robert Dominic Gonzales, is set to lead the council as the newly elected president as officially announced on Saturday together with the new members of the executive board for the following academic year.

The Medicine sophomore ran as an independent and lone candidate for the presidential post with 17, 175 votes while 3, 947 ballots were left unanswered.

Along with Gonzales, candidates who won the positions of secretary, treasurer, auditor, and public relations officer were also proclaimed by the Central Commission on Election (COMELEC) while the position for vice president was left vacant.

Legal Management freshman Krizia Milleny Bricio (Independent) acquired the highest total of votes for the secretariat post with 7, 449 over Chemistry freshman Karch Andrei Rafael (Lakas ng Diwang Tomasino) and advertising arts senior Nicolas Sia (Lakas Tomasino Coalition). A total of 4,994 students left the ballots unanswered.

Political Science junior and lone candidate Jan Rafael Lipat (Lakas Tomasino Coalition) was elected as the new treasurer of the council with 12, 093 votes while 9, 029 ballots were left unanswered.

Accountancy freshman and lone candidate Patricia Claire Cruz (Lakas Tomasino Coalition) was announced as auditor garnering a total of 11, 933 votes; 9, 189 were left unanswered.

Physical therapy sophomore and lone candidate Ian Jericho Sun (Lakas ng Tomasino Coalition) obtained the position of PRO with 10, 591 votes; 10, 531 ballots were left unanswered.

A total of 21,122 out of 38,032 Thomasians participated in this year’s elections held last April 24 to 27, lower than last year’s 26,148 out of 38,045.

Next year’s CSC Central Board, composed of the newly-elected local student council presidents, are as follows: Sean Matthew Sison (Alfredo M. Velayo – College of Accountancy), Hector Armando Sario. (College of Education), Rigel Kent Almonte (College of Rehabilitation Sciences) Cameron Jilliane de Leon (College of Science) Stephen Batacan (College of Tourism and Hospitality Management) Lady Freja Gascon (Faculty of Arts and Letters) Lyodichie Camarao (Faculty of Civil Law), John Knight Gulla (Faculty of Medicine and Surgery), Lorenzo Gabriel Banayo (Faculty of Pharmacy), John Michael Cruz (Faculty of Philosophy), Siddharta Chiong, O. P. (Faculty of Sacred Theology), Jillian Joenn Enriquez (Education High School) Charlize Noelle Dimaunahan (Junior High School) Marieliz Quianzon (Institute of Physical Education and Athletics) and Dale Ignatius Marollano (Senior High School).

Local SCs face Failure of Elections

Five local student councils were left without an student council President, proclaiming a failure of elections

The local student councils whose presidential position remain vacant due to failure of elections are as follows: The College of Architecture,  College of Commerce and Business Administration, College of Nursing, and the Faculty of Engineering.

Meanwhile,  the College of Fine Arts and Design COMELEC declared a failure of elections for all the positions in the executive board.

There was no candidate for the position of President in the Institute of Information and Computing Sciences Student Council.

According to the UST Student’s Election Code of 2011 (USEC), a failure of election is declared whenever the voter turnout is less than 25 percent of the total population of the electorate

In section 8 of the USEC, the Central or Local COMELEC concerned shall call for special elections fifteen (15) days from declaration of failure of elections.

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#TWenty: The 2018 TomasinoWeb Year-end special

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Art by Jessica Lopez
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As the year draws to an end, we can’t help but think that this year is the worst—we say the same thing every year. But we really can’t blame ourselves because the Government really did us dirty; prices of our daily goods rose uncontrollably all thanks to the implementation of TRAIN law which made the poor even poorer, Martial Law in Mindanao is extended until the end of 2019 to “quell” the hostile activities there, and despite the rising death toll on the “War Against Drugs, the unjustified killings still continues.

Change has really happened to us, and it came down to us, really hardBut somehow, the sun shone on us. 

Our Growling Tigers’ renewed strength under the guidance of its new Coach Aldin Ayo and its Super Rookie Cj Cansino, revived the fighting spirit of the whole community.  And as the fight for our pride rekindles to a brighter flame, our fight for justice burns stronger as the 10 Aegis Juris frat men face charges against fatal hazing of Horacio and the former first lady Imelda Marcos is now convicted with seven counts of graft.

Yet, our country still faces the wrath of the Government as our the media faced the endless tirades where even their freedom is being suppressed by those in power. But strangely, the benevolence of our beloved system seems to be felt by the recently acquitted former senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla.

We were all begging for our plot twists to happen ever since 2017, but 2018 is the year that taught us that we don’t plead for change–we make it, because we’re tired of asking them to do so. And so, everyone in TomasinoWeb prepared for you #TWenty to look back to the times we have fallen, but most importantly, to the times we rose stronger than ever.

And we will continue to rise again—until lambs become lions.

Keep the fire burning,

Cielo Erikah Mae J. Cinco
Executive Editor

 

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Tiger Spikers dominate beach volley day 1

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Defending champions University of Santo Tomas Spikers opened their title defense with three wins in the UAAP Season 80 beach volleyball tournament at the SM Sands by the Bay last Oct. 5.

The Lady Spikers dropped their first set against Tin Tiamzon and May Luna of La Salle before showing their gutz to steal the match, 21–23, 21–19, 15–11.

The duo of Sisi Rondina and Caitlyn Viray proved their dominance against NU’s Audrey Paran and Roma Doroman, 21–9, 21–8.

“Yun anng hindi ko ini-expect na hindi nila ma-control. Pero yung experince nila, yung maturity, andun pa rin kaya sa huli, sila pa rin ang nanalo,” UST head caoch Paul Jan Doloiras said.

In the men’s division, KR Guzman and Anthony Arbasto survived the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, 12–21, 21–15, 17–15, to open their campaign on a high note.

Day 2 of the competition resumes today, Oct. 6, at the same venue.

By Aaron Brennt Eusebio

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