[Blueboard] In Remembrance and In Thanks

Rona Valenzuela mvalenzuela at ateneo.edu
Mon Oct 6 16:13:06 PHT 2003

Ateneo de Manila University


6 October 2003





       FROM   :    THE PRESIDENT




            Yesterday after our loss to the FEU Tamaraws, our Ateneo community came together and filled the Church of the Gesù. Fr. Tito Caluag and I concelebrated the Mass with the senior men's basketball team and the Ateneo Chamber singers sang.


At the homily, we rejoiced in the exhilarating victory of and congratulated the Ateneo Blue Eaglets, our High School Junior Team. Watching them during the season and in the stirring last second victories in the Finals, we saw a team and young men of character and excellence, exemplars of the Ateneo Fighting Spirit. 


We also remembered and congratulated the Lady Eagles, our Ateneo Women's Basketball Team, who entered the Final Four for the first time and promise to achieve new heights next year. 


The community that gathered and filled the Church of the Gesù came, above all, to be with the Ateneo Blue Eagles, our Senior Men's Basketball Team in a time of loss and disappointment. At the homily, the graduating players, Rich Alvarez and Wesley Gonzales, spoke. Coach Joel Banal was also asked to speak and we were moved as we saw him choke with emotion. It was clear from them and from all the players and coaches and managers how much they wanted to give us this back-to-back championship and how down and pained they felt that they failed in their quest. But for the community gathered there, the thoughts and feelings were of a season full of memories, very many high and joyful memories and, yes, memories too of low points and of pain. But in times high or low we thanked the team for bringing us together as a community. In the lowest moment, after Game 1 of the semi-finals, we came together in a triduum of masses at the Gesù and on the second day, Sunday, we listened to Fr. Tito's homily, to Wesley Gonzales reading the Statement of the Blue Eagles to the community, and most moving of all to LA Tenorio reading his apology to the community. We affirm our values as a community by keeping clear about what is right and what is wrong. LA won our respect for not giving excuses, for accepting full responsibility para sa kanyang pagkakamali. It takes courage to win victories on the playing court. It can take greater courage to face our mistakes honestly and win victory over ourselves. St. Ignatius says that community is built on union of minds and hearts. In this season more than ever, we have affirmed that we are a community, that, win or lose, it is the school and the team we choose. 


            I thank the Ateneo community for your overwhelming support. I thank our basketball teams and all our athletic teams for bringing us together as a community.


            I now ask for your continuing, even increased, support for our teams competing in the second semester. Not just our athletic teams, but the teams of the Ateneo Debate Society who will be competing in the National Debate Championships at the Ateneo de Naga on October 23-29 and in the All-Asian Intervarsity Championship in Malaysia October 29-November 6, the Computer Science Programming Teams who will be competing in the ACM International Collegiate Programming Competition on November 6 & 7 at the University of Asia and the Pacific and many others. 


            Beyond the playing fields and the arenas of competition I invite our community to join a movement in the greatest arena of challenge in our country, the arena of poverty and growing loss of hope. Yesterday morning before our Finals Games, together with President Cory and many other leaders of groups and movements, Ateneo de Manila pledged to join the Gawad Kalinga 777 -- a movement led by the Couples for Christ to build 700,000 homes in 7,000 communities in 7 years. Stephanie Limuaco, President of the Ateneo College Student Council, and I pledged Ateneo's commitment. Together with the College Varsity Volleyball Team, we ceremonially painted one of the houses. Most immediately the Ateneo community is invited to build 100 homes in a GK Blue Eagle Village in Payatas 13 in time for Christmas. Our different student organizations, including the sports teams, will be at the forefront of this effort and thus bring their many gifts not just to the fields of competition but to giving hope to our many poor, especially the youth. 


            It is not possible to thank everyone at this time. We will have an occasion to do this at a later date. But I would like to thank Mr. Manny Pangilinan and Mr. Cecilio Pedro for their unwavering support of our sports programs, Coach Joel Banal, Coach Jamike Jarin, Coach John Flores and all the coaching and management staff of our varsity teams, Mr. Junjun Capistrano and Mr. Em Fernandez of our University Athletics Office, Fr. Tito Caluag and Mr. Monchito Mossesgeld for their care of our teams. Above all, I would like to thank all of you, especially the so many members of our community described so beautifully by Fr. Nemy Que in his homily on September 29, who in your own quiet way have given your support both in the joy of victory and in the sadness of defeat. 


            Mary, for you, for your white and blue.

            We pray you'll keep us, Mary, constantly true.

            We pray you'll keep us, Mary, faithful to you.




                                                                                BIENVENIDO F. NEBRES, S.J.


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