Olympian Yan Lariba and other top UAAP athletes feted in Season 80 opening ceremony
Alyssa Valdez and other top athletes who started in the UAAP are feted as the league starts its 80th season. Jerome Ascano

THE UAAP feted some of the finest athletes that played in the league as it opened its 80th season on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Olympian Ian Lariba of La Salle and Taguig congresswoman Pia Cayetano, a member of the 1983 UP women’s volleyball team that won the championship, bannered the athletes honored by organizers as “UAAP Greats.”

Table tennis star Yan Lariba, who is battling leukemia, was represented by her mom Imelda Lariba, while Jesse Lacuna of Ateneo, also an Olympian, was honored along with national women’s volleyball team member Alyssa Valdez of Ateneo, FEU stars Mac Belo, RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo, two-time PBA Most Valuable Player Danny Ildefonso of National University, five-time UST champion coach Aric del Rosario and the UP one-two punch of Ronnie Magsanoc and Benjie Paras.

Also feted were Adamson softball’s Ana Santiago and Queeny Sabobo, Ateneo’s Rico Villanueva and Marck Espejo, La Salle’s Mariel Banitez and Ren Ren Ritualo, National U’s Danny Ildefonso, Rayray Parks, Afril Bernardino and Tin Patrimonio, UE’s Rolando Canlas, UP’s Rannie Ortega, UST’s Dylan Ababou and Mark Alfafara, host squad FEU’s Turo Valenzona, Vic Pablo, Janelle Frayna, Marestella Torres, Allana Lim and Rachelle Anne Daquis.

Others who skipped the ceremony were University of the East’s Robert Jaworski, FEU’s Johnny Abbarientos and Adamson’s Hector Calma.

“We just hope that in this little way, we could still inspire a lot of players that they can get to many places through sports,” said Cayetano.

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