Last January 17, 2016, the Xavier Debate Team emerged victorious in the grand final round of the Philippine Schools Debate Championship, held in Ateneo de Manila University from January 14-17. This is the third time in history that Xavier School has held the title, yet this instance is worthy of high praise, as it marks the end of a two year dry spell.
Xavier Team A, composed of Matthew Araneta and Ignacio Villareal, won the championship in a heated round while opposing the motion, “This house would abolish the presidential power to veto legislation.” In this finals round, they were pitted against Ateneo High School Team A (Luigi Alcaneses and Renz Reyes), Xavier Team B (Jacob Wee and Alfonso Tan III), and Xavier Team C (Jaime Siy and Steven Sy). This was the first time in the history of the tournament that three teams from the same institution made it to the finals – a truly remarkable achievement for Xavier School.
A seven-man panel, composed of various debaters from the Ateneo Debate Society, awarded Xavier Team A the victory after a consensus decision, while also deciding to recognize Jacob Wee as the Best Speaker of the Finals Round. Meanwhile, in addition to his victory, Matthew Araneta was awarded the prestigious title of Overall Best Speaker of the entire tournament.
The Philippine Schools Debating Championship (PSDC) is the largest and most prestigious high school debate tournament in the Philippines, with over a hundred teams from all over the country taking part in the competition. It is held annually at Ateneo de Manila University, and organized by the Ateneo Debate Society (ADS). This year, one hundred and eleven teams competed in seven preliminary rounds before the top thirty-two teams moved on to the break rounds in a seeded, knockout format. A four-man adjudication core composed of members Abbo Hernandez, Leslie Torres, Karlo Antonio, and Clinton Ronquillo determined the motions for the rounds.
Aside from the three teams that made it to the grand final round, Xavier Team D (Alexander Go and Harry Paragas) and Xavier Team E (Lorenzo Ngan and Kyle Chan) also made it to the octofinals round, while two other teams, Xavier Team F (Leonardo Ngan and Mark Asper) and Xavier Team G (Louie Lagon and Martin Velasco) took part in the tournament and performed well.
Since the last time the Xavier Debate Team won the championship in 2012, it has once again proved itself in the Philippine high school debating circuit.