September 26, 2007

La Salle-Ateneo rivalry in NYT

A Nation’s Passion Lives in a Rivalry of Green vs. Blue
New York Times, Sept. 23, 2007

QUEZON CITY, the Philippines, Sept. 21 — Senators, foreign diplomats, cabinet ministers, a smattering of Forbes’s 40 richest Filipinos, movie stars and enough professional basketball players to play five-on-five. They are the elite of Philippine society, and they all gather at Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City to watch the men’s basketball rivalry between the universities Ateneo de Manila and De La Salle.

La Salle Coach Franz Pumaren said, “The janitors in Araneta always say, ‘If there’s an Ateneo-La Salle game, once everybody’s out of the coliseum, it still smells good because of the all the socialites watching.’ ”

In the basketball-crazed Philippines, where former players have become senators and nearly every public square has its own court, it is hard to imagine a crowd like this assembling for any other event. Kristie A. Kenney, the United States ambassador, attended the season’s first meeting between Ateneo and La Salle in late July.

Ateneo and La Salle are the most prestigious private universities in the country. The question of which institution provides a superior education is a toss-up; the tie breakers take place on the basketball court. (Read on Green vs Blue)


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