I must confess It's made of wood, not expensive but priceless nonetheless.
The 23-year title drought does not hurt the University of the East Red Warriors in anyway, whatsoever.
If anything, the Red Warriors will bounce back stronger, better and fiercer than ever.
In spite of stellar performances in recent chapters of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) basketball wars, including a near perfect season two years ago under the tutelage of master strategist Dindo Pumaren, the Red warriors were still unable to get their hands on the most prized possession throughout Manila's University belt -- the coveted UAAP crown.
Hence, do not despair. This years changing of the guards seems to rejuvanate the team for it's quest in conquering Philippine collegiete basketball's promise land, so to speak.
This year there will be no Marcy Arellano orchestrating flawless plays nor a towering Hans Thiele battling for loose balls as both of them have graduated and are destined for bigger and brighter endeavours in the pro ranks.
However, one thing is for sure. The Red Warriors remain to be a formidable championship contender with the likes of key returnees such as Paul Lee, Elmer Espiritu, Pari Llagass and Val Acuna.
Much is expected from Lee, the classy off-guard, who is described by Smart-Gilas national developmental team head coach Rajko Toroman as pound for pound the best amateur basketball player in the country, today.
Likewise, the high-flying Espiritu who assumes team captain duties after the unfortunate season-ending injury suffered by ace playmaker James Martinez is all geared up and is battle-ready come what may.
On the other hand, Acuna and Llagass exhibit commendable improvements. Acuna who led the team in it's successful US-stint will definitely come out as a revelation that will unfold this 72nd season while Llagass remains to be the solid and steady, old reliable that he was, is and will always be.
Consequently, a new system will be put into effect, now under the close guidance of coach Lawrence Tiongson.
Hopefully, the rigid trainings, the heartbreaking failures and the shouts and cries of every UEan's will fuel the Red Warriors in their campaign in capturing the elusive crown that the Red Tribe last fancied infront of a bonfire on a fateful September evening in 1986.
Lastly, the championship trophy looks grandiose and shiny, however it will looke shinier the moment it is placed on the storied UE cabinets -- the ones that were made wooden and cheap-looking. It look better in our UE cabinets, majestically put side by side together with it's 18 long lost brothers.
And believe me, It'll look grander in our dusty, old-fashioned cabinets. Not in FEU's elegant gallery nor LaSalle's glamorous archive not even in Ateneo's extravagant showroom.
Just inside our dusty, old fashioned cabinets. -- the ones that were made of wood and cheap-looking.
The cabinets that has been home to the trophies of Caidic, Dalupan and Senator Jaworski.
Made of wood. Not expensive but priceless.