Ateneo–La Salle Rivalry - History


Ateneo and La Salle were co-founders of the NCAA but now compete in the UAAP. The seed for a future rivalry was planted after an Ateneo loss to La Salle in the championship game of NCAA season 16 (1939–40). Games between Ateneo and La Salle in the NCAA were always hotly contested but not yet tagged by the sportswriters as a rivalry since the recognized rivalry then was between Ateneo and San Beda. When Ateneo and La Salle transferred to the UAAP, they continued their hotly contested games and the sports press started to write about a rivalry. The basketball games between Ateneo and La Salle are currently the most anticipated in every UAAP season. These games draw huge crowds of students, school faculty/ officials, alums, high government officials such as cabinet members, senators and even a chief justice of the Supreme Court. Former presidents of the Philippines and ambassadors of the United States of America also attend the games. Both schools have extended their rivalry into the academic field and other sports.

From 1924 to 1925, basketball games between Ateneo and La Salle were played at the open basketball courts in the Padre Faura, Ermita campus of UP and in 1926 at Nozaleda Park (now called Agrifina Circle which is part of Luneta Park). The venue later moved to the covered court of the US Army's 31st Infantry Gym and UST Gym. The games then moved to the Rizal Memorial Coliseum to accommodate bigger crowds, and at one point, the venues included the Loyola Center, Cuneta Astrodome, and PhilSports Arena. Currently, the Smart Araneta Coliseum and the SM Mall of Asia Arena are the main venues for the sold out games also seen on national television.

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