MANILA -- The bellowing cheers, rivalries, school colors, and jampacked venues return to the scene again as the premier varsity league in the country marks another year today, Saturday.

The University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) kicks off its 73rd season in an expected colorful opening rites at the Araneta Coliseum with host De La Salle University (DLSU) preparing a menu of performances to welcome the season.

DLSU will be hosting the UAAP for the third time since it left the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to join the league in 1986.

UAAP president Bro. Bernard Oca said in media briefing that the school tapped noted alumni such as film director Marc Reyes, multi-awarded singer-composer Ogie Alcasid, Gary Valenciano, and La Salle’s prized tanker Enchong Dee for the 1 p.m. opening rites.

The De La Salle Network Schools’ Chorale, La Sallian Youth Orchestra, dance groups and the La Salle Animo Squad will also perform during the ceremony.

Anchoring on the theme “Where Heroes are Made”, the UAAP board said it wanted to inculcate the spirit of heroism among the young set.

“We have heroes in our schools and these are our student athletes. They are symbols or icons of heroism. We would like to emphasize that we can be heroes through dedication, hardwork, discipline, honesty, integrity, etc,” said Oca.

After the one-hour ceremony, opening basketball hostilities will feature rookie-laden La Salle versus an improved UP quintet at 2 p.m., while UST and last year’s losing finalist UE will square off in the 4 p.m. main event. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)