Matti Tan is one of 4 Ateneo debaters who will represent PH and Asia at Cambridge Debate Tilt in UK

December 06, 2016
By: 
AJHS Debaters

(L-R) Matti Tan & Julia Ocoma
The debate teams of Luigi Alcañeses (12-A) & Hans Gonzalez (11-Hoyos), and Julia Ocoma (11-Favre) & Matti Tan (Pamplona/10-Mayer) won slots to compete in the final day of the prestigious Cambridge Schools Debate Competition to be held in Cambridge University in England, UK in February 2017. According to the tournament website, the competition is recognized as one of the biggest secondary schools-based competitions in the world. Thousands of students from around the UK compete in different regional heats every year to qualify for the final day. The 2017 edition of the tournament will mark the first time teams from other regions such as Asia will be allowed to compete in the final day at Cambridge. 

(L-R) Hans Gonzalez & Luigi Alcañeses
 
 Alcañeses & Gonzalez earned the slot by competing in the inaugural Capstone-Cambridge Asian Schools British Parliamentary Debate Championship in Hong Kong from December 3-4, 2016. The team reached the grand finals of the tournament and was awarded as the first runner-up overall, before a panel of six judges all hailing from the Cambridge Debate Union. The team also won US$2000 for their finish, and were awarded with medals and two large trophies.
 
Ocoma & Tan earned their slot by finishing as the top-breaking team out of all 60 teams who competed after five preliminary rounds during the competition. By earning the most team points and only dropping one point in the long process, the team was awarded the second slot for the final day at Cambridge. Their team was awarded medals and US$ 500. Both Ateneo Teams will carry the name of Ateneo de Manila High School at Cambridge, but will be representing the Philippines and Asia in England.
 
Three other Ateneo Senior High School teams competed and broke into the tournament quarterfinals. The teams of Carlos Tiu (12-A) & JC Cruz (12-L), Dominic Pamatmat (11-Hoyos) & Von Carolino (11-Hurtado), and Nicole Masagca (11-Chabanel) & Mikko Vitug (11-Pongcracz) all earned enough team points to move on to the final sixteen teams. Thirteen year-old grade 8 students Gareth De Leon (Cardoner/8-Favre) and Joaquin Reyes (Cardoner/8-Borgia) of AJHS also performed remarkably well in just their second competition, and collected a good number of points while defeating older and more experienced debaters.
 
The Ateneo Debaters reaped numerous individual awards as well. Hans Gonzalez and Von Carolino were tied and ranked as the 1st Best Speaker in Asia in the 16 Years and younger category. Dominic Pamatmat was ranked as the 5th Best Speaker in Asia in the same category. In the open category, which was comprised of debaters who were 19 years old or younger, Luigi Alcañeses was ranked as the 2nd Best Speaker in Asia, Julia Ocoma as 3rd Best Speaker in Asia, Matti Tan as 4th Best Speaker in Asia, and Carlos Tiu as 8th Best Speaker in Asia. 

Participating in the inaugural Capstone-Cambridge Asian Schools British Parliamentary Debate Championship were 120 debaters from selected top institutions from the Philippines, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, and other countries.

From left: Matti Tan, Julia Ocoma, Luigi Alcañeses
 
The team extends its deepest gratitude to its principal sponsor for the competition, Landbank, whose financial support allowed the team to compete in the competition in Hong Kong. The team also thanks its moderators, Mrs. Fe U. De Jesus of the ASHS, and Mr. Joel Falgui of the AJHS, for their constant encouragement and guidance. The team recognizes the presence of Mrs. Czari Oliveros-Manlapaz who accompanied the team to Hong Kong as the official faculty representative. The team was accompanied by coaches Mahar Abrera Mangahas and Henry Fernando in Hong Kong, and was trained as well by coaches Miguel Ventura, Isaac Lee, and Tres Yap for the competition. Finally, the team would like to thank the Office of Student Activities, the Ateneo High School Administration, and the entire community for its unwavering support in its endeavors.
 
Finally, the team extends its thanks to Capstone Prep Education Ltd., which is an organization in Hong Kong that promotes excellence in critical thinking, public speaking, and debating. Capstone subsidized the team of Alcañeses & Gonzalez for their previous achievements as Asian Champions in Kuala Lumpur last June. The team thanks Mr. Daryl Isla, an employee and leader in Capstone, who invited Ateneo High School to participate in the competition, and who also managed to invite top debaters from the Cambridge Debate Union to teach young debaters how to improve their skills throughout the tournament.
 
Moving forward, the team hopes to represent the school, the Philippines, and even Asia as well as it can in the prestigious final Cambridge debates. A strong showing and performance will indicate that Ateneo de Manila High School as an academic institution is at par with several of the world’s most prestigious high school debate teams. The team continues to ask for prayers and support from the community for the next two months as they prepare for the prestigious Cambridge Final Day.