Almost all of the rivalries of the NCAA originated from the basketball
court, since basketball is the sport most covered by the media,
especially on television. Most of the rivalries started due to the
schools' compositions, because four of the old-timer six were schools
exclusively for males from affluent families. These rivalries have
declined in recent years with the withdrawal of two of the old-timer
six, Ateneo and La Salle.
With the addition of new members to the league, rivalries shifted to
more of a geographical nature. However, the former members would still
face their old rivals in other leagues during the off-season, such as
the Home and Away Invitational League, the Collegiate Champions League,
and the Shakey's V-League.
With the departure of University of the
Philippines, the Ateneo de Manila and San Beda College fielded the
dominant basketball teams for several seasons, having one the last six
titles between them. It was in this context that the fierce rivalry
between the Ateneo and San Beda emerged. The two teams traded
championships in the 1930s that was halted when La Salle scored an
upset over Ateneo in the 1939 season. By the time World War II began,
Ateneo de Manila already had the most number of NCAA senior's
basketball titles with six, whereas San Beda had five titles to its
The ensuing years saw the
two schools trade championships and end one another's winning streaks.
The rivalry between the Blue Eagles and Red Lions continued and there
were memorable games in the 1950s that ensued between the two teams.
Carlos Loyzaga's San Beda Red Lions toppled the Blue Eagles of the
Ateneo from 1951 to 1952. Then, the Blue Eagles under the leadership of
Frankie Rabat captured the 1953 and 1954 NCAA titles. 1955 was the year
when the Crispulo Zamora trophy was awarded to San Beda when they
defeated Ateneo de Manila for the coveted crown. The Blue Eagles again
prevailed with 1957 and 1958 back-to-back crown only to be defeated by
San Beda in 1959.
The rivalry continued in
the 1970s, when their sons, Chito Loyzaga and Louie Rabat met in the
NCAA. The rivalry came to an end in the 1977 Finals series. On Game
One, a brawl ensued against fans of the competiting teams, which led
the third game being held on closed doors, with San Beda winning the
basketball championship, after Ateneo's last second shot was ruled
invalid. The violence surrounding this championship series, coupled
with the violence that was plaguing the league, led to the withdrawal
from the NCAA of both Ateneo and San Beda. The Blue Eagles left with 14
seniors titles, a record for the most number of seniors titles that
would only be tied and surpassed decades later. San Beda later won its
12th title in 2006. The Ateneo de Manila joined the UAAP, while San
Beda College eventually came back to the NCAA.
To date, Ateneo and San
Beda seem poised to rekindle their sports rivalry, less the animosity,
via friendship games and off-season tournaments even though both teams
belong to different leagues.
SALLE - LETRAN
of La Salle and Letran
In the 1970s, La
Salle started its own rivalry against Letran. The rivalry came into a
climax on a August 16, 1980 La Salle-Letran game. The Letran bleachers
were totally unoccupied minutes before the scheduled 3 o’clock start.
Letran school authorities would not let their students in unless De La
Salle's team manager's "guests" leave the south end bleachers that are
part of the Letran stands.
The group moved over to the
north end (La Salle side) after talks between Ambassador Eduardo
Cojuangco then Ferdinand Marcos-appointed project-director for
basketball and De La Salle Team manager and Letran Rector Fr. Regino
Cortes. Only then did the Letran bleachers fill up.
Letran toting a 22-18 lead
called a time-out halfway through the first half.
The south end reserve
section (Letran side) erupted with at least five burly men (part of the
guests of La Salle's team manager) ganging up on a hapless Letran high
school sophomore student for a full minute before police could
intervene. But for the mauled student, none was picked up. Almost
simultaneously, the La Salle bench suddenly stood up, the players
hunched and protecting their heads with towels and jackets against
various missiles pelted on them.
climaxed those in August 6 when La Salle defeated Letran 124-111. It
must be noted that the "guests" of De La Salle's team manager were also
present during that time.
Also involved in the
play-offs is San Beda which lost to Letran earlier. A victory by Letran
over La Salle gives it the first round flag. Should La Salle win, it
still has to face San Beda and win to clinch the round championship.
Cojuangco never explained
why his "guests" just happened to be positioned in the Letran side of
La Salle for its part, said
that it was La Salle students who beat up the Letran student, and both
teams went immediately to their respective dugouts. A large number of
spectators were hurt, and a great portion of the coliseum was damaged.
The game was called off by the NCAA and ordered a replay behind closed
doors, but the then-FIBA basketball federation, the Basketball
Association of the Philippines ordered the remainder of the season to
be canceled. La Salle then announced on a press conference on September
1980 that they will withdraw from the NCAA effective at the end of the
- SAN SEBASTIAN
of Letran and San Sebastian
After both Ateneo and La Salle left, San Sebastian (frequently
shortened to "Baste") strengthened their basketball program. The
acquisition of Paul Alvarez to San Sebastian and Samboy Lim to Letran
provided several close games in the 1980s which led to the birth of the
In the 1980s, Letranites were notorious for yelling profanities at the
San Sebastian players, and on one occasion, led to a rumble at Vito
Cruz Avenue when at the last second, a power interruption occurred,
causing confusion on what team won the championship. The rumbles
between the two schools have become more frequent which solidified the
intense rivalry between the two schools. Paul Alvarez would later play
for the Pennsylvania Valley Dawgs of the United States Basketball
The rivalry continued in the turn of the millennium when the Stags, met
the Knights in the finals twice. This led to several memorable games in
which the Knights won the 1998 edition with a game-winning three point
by Letran's JP Pacheco with few seconds reamining to win their 13th
championship and in the 2003 edition the Stags (defending champs) made
a rally in the 4th quarter in the 3rd game of their series keeping
Letran scoreless for almost 6 minutes that led them to take the lead
but Boyet Bautista started the comeback by tying the game at 48-all and
then his teammates Jonathan Piñera and Aaron Aban finished to
win their 15th cahmpionship again at the expense of the Stags. In 2004,
they renewed their rivalry in the second round of eliminations wherein
Letran denied Baste's Final 4 hopes and eventually broke their streak
of Final Four appearances (Since 1996 San Sebastian is always in the
Final Four) making it their worst performance in 8 years.
LETRAN - Mapúa
of Letran and Mapua
The "Battle of Intramuros," which is so named because the two schools
are three blocks apart from each other in Intramuros, is the name given
to the Letran-Mapúa games. The Cardinals have had the mastery of
the Knights in recent years, as Letran failed to beat Mapúa in
eight consecutive years in the eliminations, even though the Knights
were more successful in the league.
The Knights were finally able to beat Mapúa in the first round
of the 2005 tournament, but the Cardinals avenged that loss in the
second round when they dealt the Knights with their first defeat of the
The only instance where Letran and Mapúa met in the Finals was
in the 1979-80 season, where the Knights prevailed.
LETRAN - SAN BEDA
School colors of Letran and San Beda
The rivalry started in
October 28, 1950 wherein Letran and San Beda meet in the finals for the
first time. Letran then was led by Lauro Mumar while San Beda was led
by Carlos Loyzaga who eventually became legends of Philippine
Basketball. During the second round of eliminations Letran is on the
verge of sweeping the tournament to become eventual champions (the
Final 4 format was not yet implemented), but San Beda spoiled it and
beat them to arrange a championship showdown with the Knights. In the
finals Letran got their sweet revenge as they beat San Beda to get
their second title in the NCAA. The Letran team was called "Murder
Inc." by the late Willie Hernandez because of their merciless brand of
basketball, very unforgiving. After that historic match San Beda kept
on winning many championships until the 70's while Letran ended the
70's with only six championships. During the 80's the NCAA has seen the
downfall of the San Beda basketball program while Letran peaked and
became a powerhouse team that will continue until the millenium decade.
Some say the rivalry has died down because of their heaven and earth
situation not until in 2006 the Lions recruited Sam Ekwe (who is the
greatest contributor for their success) to help them win their 12th
championship after 28 years. During that same year San Beda won twice
against Letran (prior to that, Letran was 10-0 against San Beda)and
denied the Knights to gain a twicw-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.
This year (2007), San Beda and Letran are playing for the championship
for the second time and is considered "The Dream Finals" because it
features two NCAA teams who has a very rich basketball history and
tradition and in this series San Beda has a championship score to
settle with Letran (to avenge their defeat in the finals 57 years ago).
Right now they are the most anticipated games in the NCAA which led to
bringing the games at the Araneta Coliseum.
RIZAL - SAN SEBASTIAN
of Jose Rizal and San Sebastian
The rivalry started in 1972 where Jose Rizal was playing in the
championship againts new member San Sebastian. The Heavy Bombers was
bannered by Philip Cezar, David Cezar, Ed Carvajal, Jess Sta. Maria,
Cris Calilan, Olimpio Santos, Jimmy Santos and Norberto Rivera. San
Sebastian has their own superstar with the like of Dave Supnet. JRU
(JRC then) captures the NCAA crown which up to this date is the last
time Jose Rizal win a championship. Years later the two team are again
figured in a mini rivalry, San Sebastian's Paul Alvarez and Jose
Rizal's Vergel Meneses figured in a PABL Slam Dunk contest in 1987.
Meneses won the contest and during regular NCAA games these individual
are giving their best shot for their own personal rivalry and to
entrtain the fans and students who watched the game. San Sebastian
become one of the successful team in the NCAA and wrote a history when
they won 5 straight championships in a row and also produced number of
players in the PBA. Jose Rizal continues to struggles in the years to
come and not until 1999 where the Heavy Bombers made it to the finals
but lost to the defending champion Letran Knights. The finals figured a
free for all to both students, alumni's and players at the ULTRA that
resulted officials to stop the game in the middle of the regulation.
In 2001, They met in the Finals for the second time this time JRU was
bannered by Ariel Capus, Ernani Epondulan and Joel Finuliar while San
Sebastian was led by Mark Macapagal, Christian Coronel and Jam Alfad.
JRU lost in the series convincingly.
The rivalry continued during final four appearance of both school from
NCAA seasons of 2000, 2002, 2003. Not until 2007 NCAA season when San
Sebastian final four chances was denied by Jose Rizal via a 7-point
winning margin in a come from behind victory. The Stags was ahead by 7
points against the Heavy Bombers 1:10 to go in regulation. Jose Rizal
capitalized on the errors of San Sebastian and force an overtime to win
the game. This allowed JRU to grab the no. 3 spot in the final four and
towed Mapua at no. 4. Alumni and students of both teams are very much
part of the game which conclude by some NCAA insiders predicting that
both schools will likely to renew their rivalry in the next NCAA season.