Reliving dreams: FEU UAAP Correspondents’ passion in action

FEU Advocate
July 01, 2024 21:11

By Angel Joyce Basa and Leiniel Santos

As the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 87 began its search for new faces of sports broadcasting, former Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraw correspondents recounted the depth of their commitment and experiences when they braved their dream to be a courtside reporter. 

The UAAP is known to house talented individuals who aspire to represent their respective universities. Aside from the athletes, you can find other dedicated spirits beyond the lines of the playing field such as the courtside reporters.

They convey the stories of each team to let the audience know of what goes on not just during the games, but also stories that are commonly out of public reach.

FEU courtside reporters Janine Sakall of Season 84, Kylla Castillo of Season 85, and Mae Reyes of the recently concluded Season 86 shared their inspirational stories of how they got “Stronger. Better. Together.”

Stronger through adversities

From the jitters of pursuing the dream to actually performing the job of being a correspondent, challenges will stay in course as a defining factor in the journey towards success.

In an online interview with FEU Advocate, Morayta-based Season 86 correspondent Reyes said that she exerted a lot of time learning the world of sports media. 

“I poured a lot of my time and effort into studying kasi (because) I want to be prepared since I know both sports as a field and sports [journalism is] not my forte talaga (really). So I had to study the games, the names of our players, how to write reports, etc.,” she mentioned.

Meanwhile, green-and-gold rep Castillo, who sang the iconic #EveryColorFEU during the UAAP Season 85 Cheerdance Competition, went through the application process twice before becoming an esteemed correspondent.

“The second time around, same-same. Two weeks after, I was already making peace with the idea na (that) maybe the courtside path isn’t really for me. And then, I suddenly received a congratulatory email stating that I got in. The rest is history,” she said.

Together with 17 other correspondents during UAAP Season 84, Sakall expressed her anxiety as a courtside reporter as it was the comeback season of the tournament after its break during the pandemic. 

“It was nothing short of nerve-wracking. I was feeling so, so anxious for one week straight after the last stage of the audition process until I got a call one morning that changed my life forever,” she reminisced.

Despite these obstacles, the former Tamaraw correspondents concluded that it is all worthwhile as they got stronger through learning from these experiences.

“The whole long process was really worth it naman (after all) and I’m really glad na-curious ako (I got curious) because of the post kasi (because) I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t take that curiosity into an opportunity,” Reyes added.

Better path ahead

With #FuelingTheFuture being the theme in the recently concluded Season 86, the UAAP is known for opening doors for athletes, and being a correspondent for the league also meant receiving opportunities in the field of sports broadcasting for the Tamaraw representatives.

Castillo reflected on how the league came as a stepping stone into the world of media which helped her rise and earn a spot as a courtside reporter for the Premier Volleyball League.

“I’d say that given how competitive and ruthless the media and entertainment industry is, being a UAAP correspondent gave me a head start. Of course, it’s not a guarantee to a successful career but with the right intentions, grit, and dedication, it can really catapult you into [a] bigger and better scene,” she explained. 

As for Sakall, who currently reports for the Shakey’s Super League, the experience helped her see sports broadcasting in a deeper level after championing opportunities to report for local and international tournaments.

“It granted me entry to the world of sports broadcasting which allowed me to see sports in a completely different lens and deepened my appreciation for everyone who works in this field, both the athlete and the people who cover their stories,” she shared.

For FEU senior Reyes, it was meeting people from a different field that gave her lessons to help fuel her future career as a Communication student.

“Thankfully, I met a lot of people both personally and professionally, who I all learned so much from na (that) I know will be of crucial help in establishing my career. Sobrang grateful ko kasi (I’m very grateful because) from [being] almost clueless before, I can say na (that) I gained a lot of once-in-a-lifetime experiences na now kasi (now because) I was privileged enough to learn from and work alongside the best of the best in the UAAP,” she said.

Even with different upbringings and backgrounds before entering the UAAP, the opportunity to build a better future is one of the experiences that the three correspondents share. 

Together with the Tamaraws

Aside from zero-to-a-hundred stories and chances for brighter prospects, the journey would not be memorable without the bond shared with the Tamaraw athletes they report for.

Sakall described the Tamaraws as the most hardworking people coming from different walks of life which also inspired her to have a “growth mindset.” 

Meanwhile, Castillo recognized the importance of dedicating her work for the FEU student-athletes to achieve the best possible outcome for the Tamaraws.

“I was taught the value of ‘putting in the work’ and how you must be stronger than your emotions so that you can use those to your advantage and not the other way around,” she stated.

On the other hand, the Season 86 correspondent then added that spending time with the athletes and researching about them is a two whole different things of knowing their perspective. “Learning from them firsthand,” really helps to bridge the connection between the correspondents and the athletes.

These ladies proved that being a correspondent for a diverse set of teams requires not just the skills and dedication but also the ability to make more humane decisions and relate to the athletes who represent the green-and-gold community.

As the UAAP embarks on a new beginning with the University of the Philippines as the new host, who will embrace their new theme of “Stronger. Better. Together.” for the green-and-gold community?

The UAAP will accept application entries for Season 87 through their email,, starting from today, July 1, to August 1, 2024.

(Photos by Joaquin Hilario and Raph Bautista/FEU Advocate; Courtesy of Patrick Pampilon/FEU Athletics)