ARMED with stock knowledge, sheer determination, and cerebral prowess, 11 teams from different colleges will do battle come March 9 in hopes of bringing home UST’s intellectual holy grail, the Pautakan revolving trophy.

With the absence of Pautakan titan Medicine this year, the lone potential scene-stealer is the looming rivalry between Jerome Ordillano of Arts and Letters and Rhovee Vistan of Engineering.

On their last year (both are graduating students), they are set to stage yet another face-off in the Individual Category reminiscent of AB-Engineering one-on-one’s in the early years of the decade. Last year, Ordillano emerged as champion while Vistan finished second place. But nothing is certain in the country’s oldest annual intercollegiate quiz contest.

Alfredo M. Velayo-College of Accountancy

Despite separating from perennial contender Commerce, Accountancy, last year’s neophyte, proved that it can stand on its own by finishing third overall. But with only two veterans left in the lineup, Accountancy is burdened with training the benjamins “to fill up the places of those who already [graduated] from the team,” says team captain Joshua Sario.

Joining Sario up front is a fellow old hand, Fermin Yabut. Sean Parungao, Nathalie Lao, Miguel Lopez de Leon, Jenico de Guzman and Emmanuel Castro make up the rest of the team.

Prediction: Team Accountancy might again be a wild card in the game. In the Individual Category, Yabut is a veteran but he should toughen up midway, what with Ordilla and Vistan around.

College of Architecture

Finishing plates and beating deadlines haven’t diminished Architecture’s desire to bag their first-ever Pautakan title. Like Accountancy, Architecture is also left with mostly newcomers, inlcuding team captain Earlwin Tee, and just two experienced hands. Tee leads Saul Marcelo, Abigail Ko, Patrick Tanhuangco, Vert Chavez and Rinovic Masa.

Prediction: Team Architecture will be hard-pressed to stay at par with the rest. Marcelo is fresh and ready in the individual category. But staying fresh and raring throughout the game is another thing.

Faculty of Arts and Letters

Hall-of-famer Arts and Letters still prides itself with its grand-slam title despite finishing seventh last year. Perhaps more knowledgeable than the rest of the tricks of the trade, the team has retained most of its seasoned players, tucking in just two novices into the troop. Team captain Ailyn Bariso is bent on reclaiming the title.

“I think we know what we want and how to get it now,” she says.

Bariso will be backstopped by senior quizzers Ordillano, Maria Escolastica Banquicio, Zaldy Duenas III, Dominic Victor de Alban and first-timers David Nadora Jr. and Karla Lunod.

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Prediction: Arts and Letters will rely on Pautakan experience to redeem themselves from last year’s lowly finish.

Wearing a tougher skin this time, Ordillano is expected to reprise his victorious surge last year despite stiff competition from Vistan.

College of Commerce

Team Commerce has licked its wounds. While the team greatly felt the exodus of Accountancy majors from its roster, it remains optimistic of its chances to make a comeback this year.

“For now I cannot say what our weakness is. I think we can do it,” says team captain Theodore Residilla, who is set to lead the armada of fellow experienced quizzers Lloyd Xu, Jason Comia, and Roberto Hernandez Jr., and greenhorns Mario Fetalino III, Abbygayle Estrella and Alvin Tan.

Prediction: Commerce’s confidence and continuous stabs at the final rounds are things to watch out for.

Xu seems cunning. He could play the spoiler’s role in the Individual Category.

College of Education

Long preparations for Pautakan did not pay off for Team Education last year. That is why they are overhauling their game plan by limiting their review to only one month. Will this strategy experiment work for the squadron of four old hands and two rookies this year?

“The shorter the review, the less pressure we bring to ourselves,” says team captain Alvin Ray Ramos, who will spearhead Education’s campaign alongside Geoffrey Masa, Josephine Castillo, and Patricia De Jesus. Warren Mendoza and Sheena Oczon are first-time players.

Prediction: The players are majoring in the different areas of study. But they better pray they played their cards right if they are to outduel hardcore Pautakan teams. Ramos is a newbie, but like everyone else, wishes to lead Education into the Individual and team finals.

Faculty of Engineering

A .001-point loss to defending champion Nursing last year coupled with a second-place finish in the Individual Category are bitter pills to swallow, and Engineering vows not to let this happen again, underscoring “discipline and maturity” developed from joining inter-college quiz competitions. Rhovee Vistan is Engineering’s flag bearer who will try to bring Hencie Paulo Valdez, Evan James Carlos, Daryl Carillo, Francis Montalvo and Peter Dominique Paredes to the championship.

Prediction: Vistan and company are certified tournament heavyweights. Expect fireworks from Engineering, which is raring to avenge its bridesmaid finishes last year. Vistan is likewise poised to make his last Pautakan year memorable by denying Ordilla a back-to-back title in the Individual Category.

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Conservatory of Music

Tediously reviewing notes rather than just hitting them is the only key for Music’s first-ever Pautakan title. Although they do not meet regularly, the team says they have made sure that they will not be left behind. Individual bet Matthew Angeles hopes to serenade his way to the top in the Individual Category.

Jairus Gonzales will orchestrate Music’s winning strategy together with veteran Erika Carmelotes and rookies Timothy Sosmena, Valentin Peralta, Laverne Cabigting, Vanielyn Colobong, and Jarius Gonzales.

Prediction: Music should be in its best element if it wants to enter the finals, more so to be crowned as Pautakan champions. In the individual contest, Angeles saw how his team performed last year. This might be his wake-up call to finally barge into the winners’ circle.

College of Nursing

Is Team Nursing, who cornered the revolving trophy last year after a 31-year lull, for real? Or is it just a one-hit wonder?

Team captain Jan Benzon Chan, while admitting that the pressure is on them as defending champions, believes that Nursing is well-equipped to remain on top.

“We will try to repeat our victory this year,” he says.

Powering the defending champions with Chan are Joana Imatong, John Fernan Manalo, John Carilla, Stalin Francisco, and Ma. Clarissa Malic.

Prediction: Pressure could be a boon or a bane. Only a burning desire to keep winning will make them hit one wonder more.

Chan needs to flex his cerebral muscles if he wants a title for his college in the Individual Category.

Faculty of Pharmacy

Last year, Team Pharmacy said they would make it to the top five. They did. Now, they say they are going to be the champions.

Team captain Charliemaign Cruz is again Nostradamic, certain that his team is a force to reckon with because of a systematic training regimen and the presence of grizzled veterans in the lineup.

“The best people in the team are still here, and the new members will contribute a lot too,” predicts Cruz.

Also up to champion Pharmacy’s cause are Cruz’s teammates Glenn Ng, Jessika Yang, Sannie Go Ho, Almeric Lim, Heirich Ferrier Manalili and Beatrice Maxine Chan.

Prediction: Pharmacy has found it uncomfortable just being in the top five. Expect them to be a notch higher this time. But predictions are just predictions.

Meanwhile, in the Individual Category, Ng is a veteran and might just benefit from the organized study strategy.

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College of Science

Not only are they the first champions in Pautakan history, Team Science is also a traditional tournament powerhouse. Yet conflicting schedules among team members may have taken tolls on preparations.

Team captain Mike Doratan however, begs to disagree: “We don’t pressure ourselves. We just focus on what we can do.”

After finishing fourth last year, Science wants to redeem itself through the combined efforts of Doratan, seasoned quizzers Mary Euphrasie Agunoy and Janelle Tee and rookies Monica Ballesta, Jeremy Torres, Al-Jazzer Angas, and Rosa Anajao.

Prediction: Science is calm about this competition, but a hidden fierce drive usually shows up in the heat of battle.

Doratan is up against the gravity of facing Ordilla and Vistan in the individual play.

College of Tourism and Hospitality Management

Team CTHM boasts of having Geography, Humanities, and Philippine and World history as fortes. Although without a Pautakan title to brag about yet, Team CTHM believes that the players are creative enough to “find ways of catching up.”

Mark James Evangelista will lead CTHM in their journey to the finals along with Richard Aquino, Lauren Baclig, Alvin Manliguez, Kriel Lim, Jilian Villafuerte and Liezl Caña.

Prediction: Team CTHM is riding on the wave of their newly acquired college status. Time will tell if that means they are Pautakan title contenders as well.

Pressure is likewise on Individual Category representative Evangelista since he has to step up not only as a leader but as a first-time Pautakan soloist.

College of Rehabilitation Sciences

With only four brainy warriors joining the team this year, Team CRS is still headstrong on reclaiming the title which they held nine years ago against Engineering. The team believes that their expertise in the Sciences will pull them through and the lack of preparation will not hinder them from Pautakan glory even in the eleventh hour.

Veteran quizzer Simon Go will represent CRS in the Individual Category while leading greenhorns April Carandang, Katrina Rigodon and David Ong.

Prediction: Team CRS might succumb to cramming and pressure and may just fall prey to more prepared teams in the tournament.

It appears that Go is a one-man team in this competition. He and his team should look at their last-minute participation this year as a learning experience. With reports from A.L.E. Alfonso, A.M.P. Dagcutan, M.L.T. Dela Cruz, E.K.A. Dela Cruz, M.A.S. Francisco and S.R.P. Medenilla

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