The 12th Man

27 Feb

The Philippines is a basketball crazy country.  You could see basketball courts in every corner.  Almost each Filipino knows a thing or two about the sport. This is why basketball gets huge support from the fans.  On the collegiate level, the UAAP is one of the most watched college basketball leagues in the country.  Because of this, Ateneans always support the Ateneo Men’s Basketball Team.  This is the most viewed and most celebrated event among all other sports in the UAAP.  

However, things have changed a bit recently.  There is now added interest when it comes to football in our country.  This could be attributed to the success of the Philippine Azkals in international competitions, putting Philippines back on the map in terms of football.  More and more people are now becoming football fanatics since the rise of the Azkals.  Consequently, football is now being more watched and supported even in the UAAP level compared to previous years.   


As we were getting ready to watch game 2 of the UAAP Men’s Football Finals between Ateneo and UP, we were ecstatic, considering this was the first time in years that the AMFT is competing for the championship.  Aside from that, we were given a chance to play a role in this game- cheering alongside the Blue Babble Battalion From being mere audiences, who played passive roles, we became part of the cheering team that boosted the players’ and the fans’ morale.

ImageImageWin or Lose It’s the School We Cheer

Our prior mindset was that the Blue Babble Battalion was not an integral part in any team’s success. Such success can be attributed solely to the players, who participate in the game. However, our participation in the recently concluded championship game made us think otherwise. We realized that the Blue Babble Battalion, indeed, plays a vital role in the school’s drive for a win.  Successful football teams, or any sports teams for that matter, often credit the fans in acting as the 12th man for their team, giving them the needed extra boost.  In our case, the Blue Babble Battalion is the driving force of both the crowd and the team.  

Whenever they had breaks from their cheering, we took the time to interview some of the members of the Blue Babble Battalion.  Upon talking to them, we realized the vitality of their role in each of Ateneo’s sports teams.

The Blue Babble Battalion’s practices and preparations sometimes outweigh those of other sports teams. Cheering takes up so much of their time that it no longer is a hobby, it has become routine. Unlike players who focus on their individual sports, they have to attend most of the Ateneo University’s UAAP games regardless of the sport. They go all out as much as the players do in each sport event they attend, may it be basketball, football, track-and-field and the like. Through experiencing a single day in the life of a member, we realized (although it may not have been fully, considering the extent that we’ve tried) the commitment and devotion that it took to become a member of the Blue Babble Battalion.  

By the Field

The environment and the climate affected everyone present in the game.  The game was held in the new Moro Lorenzo field at two in the afternoon.  Everyone was subject to the intense heat from the sun.  The players were sweating heavily and squinting their eyes.  They looked exhausted and often asked for water from their managers and coaches in order to invigorate and exhilarate them more.  Some players even started to cramp up, due to dehydration. But the players were not the only ones subject to the heat, the fans, and the crowd in general, also felt it. Audiences brought out umbrellas and bought ice-cold beverages to refresh themselves. Cameramen, security guards, ball boys, concessionaires and other workers there also tried their best to combat the sun by using hats, umbrellas and other paraphernalia.  Even we bought drinks, got umbrellas and looked for shades under trees and tents to shield. Indeed, the setting of the event really affected everyone present.


The magnitude of the game also affected the people. The implications of this game made Both the players and the fans extra intense.  Every call or lack thereof by the referee was hotly contested by the team as well as their fans.  Each occurrence in the game that favored the Ateneo team was cheered on by the Ateneo crowd, and booed by the UP crowd and vice versa. Near us, even, were some Ateneo alumni, who consistently cheered on the team whenever the ball was in our possession- shouting “Fight for the ball!” or “Go Ateneo! One big play!” Both the Ateneo and the UP crowds were screamingly loudly to cheer for their team and jeer their opponent.  

The biggest losers, however, were the referees.  They were in a no-win-situation. No matter what called they made, the opposing team would criticize and shout at them.

When the game ended in a 0-0 tie, a penalty shootout ensued- the climax of the game.  After 120 minutes of game time without a single goal, the shootout determined whether the Ateneo team becomes Champions of the UAAP football league, or both teams ready themselves for a third match. Both the players and their corresponding fans were feeling the pressure because of the cruciality of the game.  The players felt the pressure to perform in the clutch, while everyone else watches and wishes they to deliver.  Looking from left to right, it was clear that the fans were getting nervous and agitated, showing much anticipation while waiting for the penalty shot.

As the first couple of penalty kicks were taken, Ateneo got off to a 3-2 lead.  Now, all they needed was one last goal to seal the game.  This was the perfect setup for Ateneo’s graduating team captain to bring home the championship.  As he approached the ball to take the penalty kick, there was absolute silence in the whole area.  No matter whom you were cheering for, there was just one thing everyone was looking at, at that point.  As the kick was made and the ball sailed through the air, there was a sense of anticipation from the people.  Until moments later, the ball finally went through. Yu Murayama, the team captain, came through when Ateneo needed him the most.  He made the goal that won the championship, and made the crowd ballistic.  

To watch the penalty shotout:


Most of the Ateneo fans then ran to the field to join in the celebration.  While on the other side, the UP crowd was in complete shock.  They could not believe what had just transpired.  A perennial UAAP football powerhouse and recent 2-peat champions in UAAP football had just fallen to the up and coming Ateneo team.  At that point, the football field was divided in emotion. On the left side, the Ateneo fans are going wild and celebrating their first championship, where players are rejoicing and crying tears of joy and fans came rushing to congratulate them. On the other hand, the right side, the UP side mourned their loss, in complete disbelief, where players were down on the floor, shedding tears and uttering words of regret.

Victory & Sports

Getting right down the middle, what did this championship game really mean? and sports in general? In Philippine society today, a school’s performance in sports has proven to be very crucial. It has become a symbol and an indication of a school’s prestige. People tend to regard the success of a school’s team in a sport as a direct correlation to the success of the school and what it has to offer to its graduates. We often see this how most alumni help ensure the success of each of their school’s basketball tea, giving “incentives” to players just so they enroll in their alma mater. In the football scene, this championship game televised by ABS-CBN, has definitely produced the same effect in society in respect to sports just like basketball. By winning this championship game, the Ateneo has once again increased its prestige in the eyes of many, pedestalling them on the top. This clearly shows what sports and matches between schools really mean-blowing up victories and minimizing defeats. If a team is victorious, it shall give the body it is representing honor and glory. If a team loses, the represented body shall turn away and blame other factors to their teams demise. Therefore, sports are all about winning.

The Experience

There was no better way to experience this than by being a part of the championship drive itself as a member of the cheering done by the Blue Babble Battalion even just for that day, acting as the only constant force during the entire season, for most, if not all, sports.  No matter what was happening, they Blue Babble Battalion cheered the teams and poured their hearts out. They shouted as loud as they can and beat on the drums as hard as they can to energize both the crowd and the players.  

Championships are not just won by the team. Championships are won by the collection of people both in the team, and supporting the team- the fans, the managers, the cheering squad, and the community.  For our alma mater, it was the Blue Babble Battalion who led this support team that played a vital role in helping this team achieve its ultimate goal. They say, ‘Behind every great man is an even greater woman.” In sports, we say, “Behind every great team, is an even greater squad.”


Number of words: 1597

Participation vs. Observation

Through participating with the Blue Babble Battalion during the ADMU vs UP game 2 of the UAAP football finals rather than just watching them cheer, we were able to really understand what it was like to be a cheerleader for the school. We would always know what they were be doing, cheering, but now we are able to understand the why and how dimensions and what it would take to be part of the Blue Babble Battalion.

The Role of a Key Informant

Having a key informant, made the experience more worthwhile and convenient. We didn’t have to worry about squeezing ourselves amidst the BBB since our informant, Mico Mañalac, was able to inform the BBB ahead of time. He was also able to guide us in what we had to do during the game. During halftime and after the game, we were also able to ask him what it took to be part of BBB and what they had to do in every game. The most memorable thing he said was that no matter how good or bad any team was doing, it was their job to cheer as if the team was a champion no matter the outcome. 

Participant Observation vs. Questionnaire and Interview

Participant observation allows one to experience the activity first hand. It enables you to get immersed in the activity/ in the research. After joining the Blue Babble Battalion, we realized the hard work that they put into every game. Through questionnaires and interviews, we will not be able to have a better grasp of what squad does. Through this also, there are some dimensions that can only be seen by experiencing the activity firsthand.

When a Questionnaire and Interview is Better than Participant Observation

A questionnaire would help us gather more information quicker and faster rather than participant observation. A questionnaire also allows several participants not to have any filters or resistance as they’re answering the questions. An interview, on the other hand, allows us to ask more detailed and thorough questions to an interviewee without a restricted amount of time. 

Although participant observation allows a first hand experience, it is important to note that there are some things that cannot be observed through it. For example, without questioning and interviewing the participants, we would not be able to know the thoughts of a person normally involved in the activity. Our thoughts, although based on the same experience, may be different from theirs. In participant observation, there is risk of our insights to be influenced by other factors  such as breeding, upbringing, lifestyle, etc.

Furthermore, in questionnaires, we are able to get a collection of direct answers, which could help find or trace a pattern among the people involved. From there, we are able to draw better conclusions.

Andres, David Anthony Lorenzo 
Pile, Donica Alyanna
Tensuan, Emmanuel Fernando
SA21- Section M

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Posted by on February 27, 2013 in Uncategorized


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