Ateneo Debaters Defeat 2015 World Debating Champions Team Singapore; Hans Gonzalez and Renz Reyes Are Top Ten International School Speakers
A team of five Ateneo Debaters was invited as the first international team in the Singapore International School Debaters League (SISDL) Open Competition. SISDL was exclusive to Singaporean Debaters until this year, when the organizers of the competition, Anglo-Chinese International School, decided to slowly open their event to schools from abroad. The event was hosted from January 14-15, 2017 in the World Schools format of debating, which allows for a team to be comprised of up to five speakers. Debaters of different nationalities from German, American, Indian, British, and other international schools participated in the event.
Two Ateneans were ranked among the Top Ten International School Speakers Roster. Hans Gonzalez (11-Hoyos) was ranked as the 5th Best Speaker while Renz Reyes (12-A) was ranked as the 8th Best Speaker. Their feat makes them the first non-Singaporeans to rank among the Best Speakers of the tournament where close to 150 debaters in total participated. Gonzalez and Reyes were joined by Luigi Alcaneses (12-A), Ervin Grana (12-L), and Nicole Masagca (11-Chabanel).
The Ateneans were the only non-Singaporean team to break into the elimination rounds during the event. The team reached the final four stage of the competition, before they lost on a 2-1 split decision to eventual champions Hwa Chong Institution.
The highlight of the competition was when the Ateneans defeated the World Debating Champions of 2015—Team Singapore—and eliminated them from contention in the elimination rounds. The round was especially intense and high-level, given that the loser of the round would not be able to move forward into the competition. Moreover, Team Singapore was comprised of only the best debaters in the country. Singapore is the only Asian country to ever win the World Debate Championships for high school, doing so in both 2011 and 2015, since the World Championships for high school was started in 1988. When the Ateneans defeated the Singapore National Team, they were congratulated by Team Singapore alumnus Ashish Kumar from Cambridge University, who was ranked as the World’s Overall Best Speaker in the university level in 2015, for a very strong performance.
The upset that the Ateneans pulled, as well as their individual and team achievements in new territory, showed that our school can excel in new debate formats and new competitions against established international teams. The experience was enriching and empowering, and the team looks forward to taking home what they learned to share with the rest of the team.
The team was accompanied by Coach Henry Fernando to the competition. The moderator of the team is Mrs. Fe U. De Jesus of the English Subject Area.