Grade 10 Debater Matti Tan Wins PH's Most Prestigious Collegiate Debate Intervarsity
The team named “Matti, What Will I Argue?,” comprised of Ateneo Junior High School debater Matti Tan (Pamplona/10-Mayer) & coach Henry Fernando (4A 2010), won the Philippines’ largest and most prestigious inter-collegiate debate competition, the Luzon Intervarsity (LIV) on October 24, 2016. They defeated 170 other collegiate and post-collegiate participants who vied for the prestigious crown. In the grand final, they defeated De La Salle University A, San Beda College A, and UP Los Baños A to be named as the eventual champions. On the way to the finals, the team also defeated internationally-awarded college teams, including Ateneo De Manila University, UP Diliman, and other prestigious universities.
Tan & Fernando successfully opposed the motion, “Given the current situation of the Philippines, this house, as a progressive millennial from the middle class, would migrate out of the country and encourage peers to do the same.” The Best Speaker of the Finals on a 6-1 split decision was Henry Fernando, while the team was declared as the winner on a 4-3 split decision.
The win is unprecedented because it is the first time that any high school debater in history has won a national-level college intervarsity of this scale. Intervarsities had always been won by collegiate students, post-graduate or law school students, or working professionals—until now. Tan’s win demonstrated the capacity of young high school debaters to break barriers and triumph on the national stage against debaters several years older and more experienced than them.
Henry Fernando was awarded 3rd Best Speaker of the tournament, while co-coach Mahar Mangahas, who competed with Ateneo Senior High School Debaters Head Coach Miguel Ventura, was named 6th Best Speaker of the tournament. Matti Tan was named 8th Best Speaker out of 170 competitors. This proved to be yet another first—no high school debater has ever been included among the Top Ten Speakers of a national intervarsity of this scale. The final individual speaker award also went to Matti Tan—who bested both high school and college students to win the highest distinction of Overall Best Novice Speaker.
Co-coaches Mangahas & Ventura reached the semifinals of the competition. Meanwhile, other Ateneo High School students shone by breaking into the elimination rounds of the competition. The team of JC Cruz (12-L) & Julia Ocoma (11-Favre) broke into the Octofinals of the tournament, as did the team of Von Carolino (11-Hurtado) & Nicole Masagca (11-Chabanel), and the team of Paulo Valencia (12-N) and Claire Venzon (11-Hoyos).
Other participants included Mikko Vitug (11-Pongracz) & Dominic Pamatmat (11-Hoyos), Janica Ano (11-Goto) & Luisa Zuniga (11-Azevedo), Phil Javellana (12-H) & Miguel Carnecer (12-C), David Africa (Pamplona/10-Mayer) & Ryan Oquiza (La Storta/10-Owen), Javy Pineda (La Storta/10-Owen) & Matthew Varona (Pamplona/10-Mayer), Luis Amatong (La Storta/9-Lewis) & Yuan Ordenes (Cardoner/10-Pignatelli), Carlo Pastor (Pamplona/10-Mayer) & Johann Claveria (Pamplona/10-Mayer), and Gabe Apostol (Pamplona/10-Mayer) & CJ Carlos (Pamplona/10-Mayer). Raprap Montemayor (La Storta/10-Owen) adjudicated in the tournament.
The head coach of the AJHS Debaters is Tres Yap. The moderator of the ASHS Debaters is Mrs. Fe U. De Jesus, while the moderator of the AJHS Debaters is Mr. Joel Falgui. The debaters extend their thanks to the AHS Administration for their logistical support, and for permission to compete in the tournament.
The greatest success that the team attained over the weekend was the amount of learning and experience that every student attained. Moreover, they built camaraderie among themselves and with debaters from other schools as well. The contingent as a whole proved that even young debaters can stand and compete with even the best collegiate debaters in the country.