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Cheering opposing teams, VP Leni and daughters soaked in UAAP finals fever

Vice-President Leni Robredo is just a face in a massive crowd of Fighting Maroons supporters at Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday joined thousands of fellow University of the Philippines alumni in singing "UP Naming Mahal," as she cheered the school's varsity basketball team, whose rise from the fringes mirrored her political ascent.

Wearing a maroon shirt, Robredo was seated between daughters Tricia and Aika, both clad in blue to support the Ateneo de Manila University. The Blue Eagles beat the UP Maroons 2-0 to defend their UAAP crown.

"'Yung UP galing sa laylayan. Talagang iniangat 'yung buong paaralan para makarating sa finals. Hindi madali 'yung pinagdaanan kaya ipinagmamalaki natin sila. Hindi ipinahiya ang school spirit," she said.

(UP came from the fringes and raised the morale of the entire university on their way to the finals. What they went through was not easy that's why we are proud of them. They carried the school spirit.)

Robredo, a UP School of Economics graduate, rose from the cellar of pre-election surveys to narrowly beat former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr in the 2016 vice presidential elections.

Since assuming the vice presidency, she has made uplifting those on the fringes (laylayan) her advocacy.

The UP Maroons' finals appearance in UAAP Season 81 was the first since 1986.

After an improbable run this year, Robredo said she hoped the Maroons would return to the finals in 2019 and win.

"Mas mataas expectation natin sa UP next year," she said. "Talagang from nothing dati, may maipanalo lang na isa dati worthy na magka-bonfire. Pero ngayon nakarating na sa finals. Feeling ko kahit sila hindi inaasahan 'yung magiging ganito ang accomplishment this year."

(Expectations are higher for UP next year. They really came from nothing. Before, an ordinary win was bonfire-worthy. But now, they made it to the finals. I don't think they expected to accomplish what they did this year.)

Robredo said she and her daughters taunted each other playfully as the finals played out.

"Binu-bully ako ng mga anak ko kasi lahat sila Ateneo kaya nilalakasan ko na lang boses ko kasi mag-isa lang ako," she said.

(They bullied me because they are all from the Ateneo. I had to raise my voice because I was alone.)

"Kaya 'pag may post sila sa Facebook, Twitter or Instagram tungkol sa laban na 'to, parati ko silang tino-troll. Pero masaya kasi napaka-friendly ng atmosphere kahit matindi ang laban."

(When they post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram about the game, I troll them. But it's a happy and friendly atmosphere even if the game is intense.)

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