It’s that time of the year again when the best and the brightest in UST slug it out in the annual “Pautakan” contest.

The competition on February 24 gets even more interesting with the return of traditional heavyweights, the faculties of Medicine and Surgery. and Civil Law.

The question is whether they can return from a long hiatus, and pose a legitimate threat to the Faculty of Arts and Letters (Artlets), the defending champions and holder of the coveted revolving Pautakan trophy. Here’s now an overview of the competition, how tough the field is, and who will likely emerge as the winner.

AMV-Accountancy

The AMV College of Accountancy squad will obviously try to exact revenge after losing to Artlets in the championship round. Headed by veteran Fermin Yabut, the team is rife with experience with the return of Jenico Alexis de Guzman, Sean Parungao, Emmanuel Castro, Nathalie Lao, Louis Miguel Lopez de Leon, and rookie Richard Evangelista.

Prediction: Accountancy has shown poise under pressure if not for its debacle against Artlets. Expect the same tenacity from the team, which claimed the individual title last year in the person of Yabut.

Architecture

The team will focus on chemistry with the arrival of Alyza Mari Nocon, Ramir Fausto, Ella Ruth del Rosario, and Zolio Renzo Amador to complement team captain Earlwin Tee and Abigail Ko. Communication—not just intelligence—will be key if they want to enter the finals.

Prediction: College of Architecture’s designs for a podium finish are slim with only two experienced players in the team. Fausto’s determination to fight against experienced quizzers is admirable, but winning will take more than this.

Arts and Letters

The champs are in for a rough ride come February 24. Team captain Zaldy Dueñas III and company – veterans David Nadora Jr., Karl Venesse Lunod, and rookies Racine Anne Castro, Dorothy Camille Detabali, Joseph Gavier Franco, and Christine Ma. Grace Salinas – cannot afford to be complacent, especially with other squads improving their lineup.

Prediction: It will be a close call between Artlets and Accountancy for the championship. But don’t be surprised if Artlets pulls through. The individual crown may also be in the bag.

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Civil Law

After a two-year hiatus, Civil Law returns to the intellectual derby with an eye on at least the top five. The team is confident that it has enough stock knowledge to book a ticket to the finals, with most of its members coming from Artlets.

Team captain Herazeus Christine Uy is joined by Anna Fe Abad, Lamberto Santos, Romeo Teope, Ismael Saranggaya, and Angeli Albana. Manilyn Sotelo is the team’s flag bearer.

Prediction: The future lawyers have experience on their side, academic-wise. However, Sotelo will face tough competition for sure.

Commerce

Team captain Theodore Residilla says that his college provides the reference materials to prepare them for D-Day. Whether this strategy will actually work remains to be seen.

Residilla partners with Roberto Hernandez Jr., Abbygayle Estrella, Alin Tan, Jason Comia, and greenhorns Mariel Bobier, and Marville Manzano in representing College of Commerce.

Prediction: Commerce has always been a contender due to its resiliency and early preparations. Hernandez’ know-how of the competition’s twists and turns will be a big factor in the individual category.

Education

Being well-rounded on disciplines like science, math, and english is the obvious edge of the Education team, says flag bearer Alvin Ray Ramos. The young upstart leads fellow Maria Josephine Castillo, Sheena Grace Oczon, Warren Mendoza, Geoffrey Masa, and newbies Judlyn Tanya, and Hannah Paulyn Co.

Prediction: The future teachers have a good chance of entering the finals. Ramos returns in the individual category to vie for a spot at the top five.

Engineering

The Faculty of Engineering last won the championship in 2001, and has since settled with runner-up finishes. Team captain Evan James Carlos says his group’s maturity in the game makes it a well-oiled machine come competition day.

Joining Carlos are Francisco Montalvo III, Daryll Carillo, Mark Andrew Nuqui, and novices Divino Bibat, Paul Demapelis, and Jordon Serrano.

Prediction: Montalvo is at the peak of his Pautakan stint, and could improve Engineering’s performance this year.

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Medicine and Surgery

Like Civil Law, Medicine and Surgery will return in this year’s competition after a one-year absence. The team led by Guillermo Victorino Liabres can only hope to shake off the rust and produce a respectable finish.

Liabres is joined by fellow veterans Dianne Jean Padolina, Linnelle Stacy Lao, Joanna Marie Chua, Keaily Tejada, and Emilio Villanueva III. Arnold Cedric Aquino is the team’s campaigner in the individual contest.

Prediction: Medicine will look to regain the championship trophy and can probably do so. Aquino has both the competitive spirit and knowledge to make it far in the competition, but must be wary of other individual bets also hungry for the trophy.

Music

The Conservatory of Music surprised the competition last year, entering the top five of the individual category. Inspired by the feat, the team will ride on its newfound confidence, while hoping to be an “octave above the rest,” according to team captain Vanielyn Colobong.

Joining Colobong are fellow musicians Bon Peralta, Ma. Erika Joy Carmelotes, and Laverne Cabigting. Neophytes Cristina Fernandez, and Homer Cabansag complete the lineup.

Prediction: Music has yet to show that it can strike a chord strong enough to reach the highest note in the competition. Peralta can prove that his performance last year was no fluke.

Nursing

Having missed the championship bus last year, the College of Nursing is set to prove that its victory in 2008 was no one-hit wonder.

“We’re united as a group. We’ve fostered the spirit of camaraderie,” says team leader Clark Edward Uytico, who leads tenderfoots Maryland Estigoy, Lester Villapando, Lisha Alyanna Reyes, Jose Antonio Daile, Jailene Faye Rojas, and Angelica Marie Pineda.

Prediction: With only one experienced competitor in the team, Nursing will travel the tough road to reclaim its lost glory. On the individual’s side, Estigoy might find it difficult to compete against old timers.

Pharmacy

After being nailed at the sixth spot last year, Pharmacy looks to create a repeat of their 1994 championship. Team captain Almeric Lim says his team’s firepower is fueled by a vast knowledge of math and the sciences.

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Lim is backed by veteran Beatrice Chan, and rookies Emmanuel King Jr., Sophia Abella, Ludy Mae Ang, Monica Gutierrez, and Mark Steven Yao.

Prediction: Pharmacy will have a decent finish. A spot in the Top 3 is not far-off for Lim.

Rehabilitation Sciences

It has been a decade since the College of Rehabilitation Sciences (CRS) won its last championship. Winning it again 10 years later can’t be any sweeter.

Team captain Shane Chug teams up with Joyce Pastor, Phoebe Evangelista, Laisa Gregorio, Venadell Zulueta, Kimmy Tiu, and Bernard Pacis, who will represent the college in the individual category.

Prediction: CRS brings new blood to the table, but whether this will be a plus is yet to be known. Pacis in inexperienced but this doesn’t mean he’ll not be a factor in the individual competition.

Science

Tasting the first-ever Pautakan championship has only fed team the College of Science’s inner fire of reclaiming the title. Though team captain Jannelle Frances Tee admits they lack time to review together, their confidence stays strong. Tee leads the squad along with experienced quizzers Rosa Paulina Anajao, and rookies Irish Valerie Maggay, Dominique Joyce Concepcion, Ramon Arvin Noriel Santos, Paulo Quemada, and solo bet Ernesto Paruli III.

Prediction: With only two veterans left in the team, Science cannot afford to be overconfident. Paruli’s chances of a finals berth are slim.

Tourism and Hospitality Management

This year, the College of Tourism and Hospitality Management hopes to become a legitimate contender, not just a mere participant. Front liner Richard Aquino will fashion a good battle together with Diane de Jesus, and rookies Dharwin Javier, Raffy Acabado, Mariden Dalusong, Pio Sanchez, and Michael Romero.

Prediction: This is the best time for Tourism to erase the stigma from last year’s dreary performance. Aquino will do well in the individual category, but a Top 3 finish will be a surprise. M. R. B. Maranan and Ronalyn M. Umali

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