In the ongoing University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 84 basketball tournament that started last week, followers of both Ateneo Blue Eagles and La Salle Green Archers are doing away with their school colors and the animosity that always divide the gallery in every Ateneo-La Salle match-up as they unite and wear pink in each game to show support for Vice-president Leni Robredo.

When the heads of Ateneo de Manila University and De la Salle University separately encouraged their respective communities to wear the campaign color of Robredo, the response was enthusiastic.

The Mall of Asia Arena, venue of the UAAP games after an absence of two years, was a sea of pink in the first Green Archers-Blue Eagles tussle.

“On Tuesday, we wear pink.” Fr. Bobby Yap and Br. Bernie Oca encouraged Ateneans and Lasallians to wear pink during the coming Ateneo-La Salle game for Leni in their posts.

Both Ateneo and La Salle released the statements on their respective social media accounts.

The country’s top collegiate league was forced to cancel the remainder of Season 82 and Season 83 at the beginning years of the Covid-19 pandemic, when there was still uncertainty about the future of sports events.

UAAP resumed the league just now, kicking it off with men’s basketball games, one of the crowd’s favorite sports events.

The historic rivalry between the two universities started in 1933 when DLSU won against AdMU in a basketball game at the defunct National Collegiate Athletic Association.

It was the Green Archers’ first NCAA championship. Ateneo later won five NCAA titles.

After the two rival universities encouraged Robredo’s supporters to wear pink clothing on Tuesday, members of the UAAP community took to social media to air their reactions.

Some claimed that the move is considered a “real unity” given their histories.

“A sample of True Unity… True pagkakaisa…” a Twitter user commented about the joint initiative. “Now that’s true unity,” another online user commented.

“In the face of uncertainty, this call for solidarity makes my blue heart proud. Setting aside ‘rivalry’ for the country.

In this game, ‘di mahalaga ano final score dahil sa ating pinaglalaban, lahat tayo panalo! One Big Fight! Animo Pilipinas!” a basketball fan said.

This brought to mind another instance when the two universities had set aside their rivalry to express a political statement.

“Last time this happened was when both universities asked fans to wear black in protest of Marcos’s burial at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani. Not many participated.

Interesting to see how this plays out tomorrow,” one online user said. In 2016, AdMU and DLSU encouraged their supporters to wear black instead of the school’s colors in a basketball match in UAAP Season 79.

The move was made to protest the burial of late Ferdinand Marcos Sr. at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and also to oppose the extra-judicial killings under the then new Duterte administration.

In 2009, yellow was also the color at the Smart Arena Coliseum in Quezon City to pay tribute to the late President Cory Aquino.