Gonzalez & Fernando are Masters Cup champs of Bicol Collegiate Debate; 5 ASHS boys are included in Top Ten Best Speakers roster
Ateneo de Manila Senior High School Debaters impressed and dominated a collegiate-level competition by winning team and individual awards in all three categories of the tournament. Hans Gonzalez (11-Hoyos HUMMS) and Henry Fernando (4A 2010) won the Bicol Debate Open (BDO) 2016 Masters Cup Category on November 22, 2016. Now in its second edition, BDO is a collegiate tournament open to working professionals, and post-graduate, college, and high school students from any institution in the country. The Masters Cup Category was open exclusively to debaters who have achieved high distinctions in university-level intervarsities and competitions. In the Grand Finals of the Masters Cup, Gonzalez & Fernando won the competition against fellow ASHS Debaters Luigi Alcañeses (12-A) and Paulo Valencia (12-N), three of the top university level debaters of the Bicol region, and one working professional who graduated from San Beda College. Fernando was named as the Best Speaker of the Finals. The win marks the first time that the ASHS Debaters have won a collegiate-level debate championship.
The second category—the Open College Championship—turned out to be a largely high-school dominated event. Three out of the four teams in the grand finals were ASHS teams, with the category title going to a team of two fourth year college students from San Beda College. The first runner up was the team of Henry Fernando and Paulo Valencia, the second runner up was the team of Luigi Alcañeses and Hans Gonzalez, and the third runner up was the team of Carlos Tiu (12-A) and JC Cruz (12-L). What makes the feat even more impressive is that in a tournament comprised largely of college students, it was three ASHS teams that eventually rose to the top and battled it out in the main event hall of SM City Naga. In front of hundreds of shoppers, the debaters battled it out on the motion, “This house believes that Anti-Marcos groups and movements should focus all their efforts on pursuing extra-legal means of exhuming the dictator’s body from the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani.” With the issue of the controversial burial just five days fresh in the minds of the public, the atmosphere in the mall was electric and filled with applause by hundreds of observers and passersby.
The team of Nicky Solis (12-B) and Phil Javellana (12-H) narrowly missed making the college grand final as they bowed out in the semifinals. Also, the team of Drico Ramiro (12-A) and Lorenzo Lazaro (12-A) made it to the top 16 teams but bowed out in the quarterfinals.
The ASHS Debaters were also well-represented in the third and final category, the High School Cup. Against three other teams from Ateneo de Naga Senior High School, the team of Ervin Grana (12-L) and Miguel Carnecer (12-C) were declared as the runners-up of the category on a very close 3-2 split decision, coming in second to the top high school team in the region.
The Ateneo Debaters impressed even further by reeling in half of the top ten speaker awards of the competition. Henry Fernando was the Overall Best Speaker of the Competition, Paulo Valencia was ranked as 2nd best, Luigi Alcañeses as 5th best, Hans Gonzalez as 7th best, and Carlos Tiu and Phil Javellana tied as 8th best. Every other debater awarded among the Top Ten were university students or working professionals.
The team was accompanied by Coach Miguel Ventura, who served as a member of the Adjudication Core of the competition. The team was prepared by Coaches Mahar Abrera Mangahas and Isaac Lee prior to the competition. The moderator of the ASHS Debaters is Mrs. Fe U. De Jesus of the English Department. The team extends its thanks to the Ateneo Senior High School Administration and Community for its support and approval that made these victories possible.
The ASHS Debaters have been making larger and larger waves in the national debating scene. Just last October, the AJHS Debaters broke barriers by having Captain Matti Tan win the Luzon Intervarsity—the country’s largest most prestigious collegiate intervarsity. With this new collegiate tournament win, the ASHS Debaters can now also claim the distinction of winning collegiate-level championships. The team looks to continue improving and learning, all in service of becoming critical thinkers and nation builders in a country that prides itself in youths who are socially involved and relevant.
The Bicol Debate Open was hosted by the University of Nueva Caceres from November 18-22, 2016.