Basketball IQ: UP’s basketball dynasty and futility

Believe it or not, the first dynasty in Philippine college basketball belonged to the University of the Philippines (UP). Yes, that isn’t a typo. UP won the first three NCAA Seniors crown from 1925 to 1927. State U ruled once again in 1930 to become champions for four times in six years. The only other schools that won an NCAA title during that stretch were Ateneo and San Beda.

The Diliman dynasty, however, was short-lived.

In 1938, UP bolted the NCAA to form the UAAP with FEU, NU, and UST. The following year, the Fighting Maroons won their first ever league title. A little caveat though: they were declared co-champions with the Tamaraws and the then-Glowing Goldies for reasons that escape the Internet.

UP had to wait for 47 more years before it hoisted another major basketball crown. In 1986, Benjie Paras, Ronnie Magsanoc, Eric Altamirano, and Joey Guanio led the Maroons to their second UAAP title (some consider it as UP’s first and only UAAP championship) after upsetting the Jerry Codiñera-led UE Red Warriors.

Nowadays, it feels like UP winning a basketball game is a cause for nationwide celebration. The Maroons have become a common punch line of every joke pertaining to poor basketball. They’ve only won six games in the last five seasons and haven’t advanced to the Final Four since 1997.

But with Azkals boss Dan Palami joining State U as team manager this season, things could be headed in the right direction.

(Photo from Interaksyon.com & Tinig ng Plaridel) 

About the author

Raul Maningat

Raul Maningat works as a promo producer for a sports channel. He also contributes sports-related articles to a popular online men’s magazine. He is a ping pong addict and a boxing geek but he is always and forever will be a basketball guy.

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