Xavier Debate Team Takes Home Back-to-Back National Titles

by Jaime Siy (11D) and Steven Sy (11A)
From L-R: Roi Lim (XS ’14), Philmon Wee, Mr. Melchizedek Babilonia, Mr. Martin Gomez, Jaime Siy, Eaton Sia, Ignacio Villareal, Jacob Wee, Martin Velasco, Harry Paragas, Kyle Go, Alfonso Tan III, Mr. Alwin Reclusado, Steven Sy (Group photos provided by Mrs. Elaine Wee )

The Xavier Debate Team has done it again.

Just a year after Xavier clinched the championship at the Philippine Schools Debating Championship (PSDC) in 2016, they have once again taken home the same title of Philippine Champions in the recently concluded tournament held at the Ateneo De Manila University campus last January 5-8, 2017. This marks Xavier School’s fourth time holding the title and the first time it has taken a back-to-back championship in history.

Xavier School A, composed of Ignacio Villareal (12A), who won the tournament last year with alumnus Matthew Araneta, and Jacob Wee (12A) won the grand finals in a heated debate opposing on the motion, “This house believes that capitalism has failed the poor.” Also debating in the grand finals were Xavier School C, composed of Jaime Siy (11D) and Steven Sy (11A), who also made an appearance in last year’s national finals, International School Manila A (Abhishek Kottamasu and Abhinav Bathula), and Ateneo de Manila Senior High School F (Mikko Vitug and Nicola Masagca).

A nine-man panel, composed of accomplished debaters and adjudicators from various collegiate debate societies across the Philippines, decided to give the win to Xavier A on a 6-3 split decision, with Xavier C taking a close second place in the debate. The panel also awarded the Opposition Whip, Ignacio Villareal, the Best Speaker of the Finals award.

Ignacio was also recognized as the Best Speaker of the Philippines, alongside Jacob Wee, who was recognized as the Sixth Best Speaker.

Apart from the teams that competed in the grand finals, Xavier School sent three other teams in its contingent. Of those three teams, two reached the tournament’s quarterfinals: Xavier School B, composed of Harry Paragas (11B) and Alfonso Tan (11B), and Xavier School D, composed of Kyle Chan (10A) and Martin Velasco (11D). The last team, composed of two first-year debaters, Eaton Sia (9J) and Philmon Wee (9B), put up a strong showing in the preliminary rounds, placing just a few points shy of breaking to the octofinals.

The Philippine Schools Debating Championship, organized annually by the Ateneo Debate Society (ADS), is the largest and most prestigious competition in the Philippine high school debating circuit with teams from all across the country coming to participate. This year was the largest PSDC in history, with one hundred and forty-four teams of two taking part in seven preliminary rounds before the top thirty-two teams advanced to the break rounds in a seeded, knockout format. A five-man adjudication core, composed of Andrei Buendia, Leslie Torres, Candace Tan, Dan Mejes, and Gino Reichert decided on the motions for the entire tournament.

However, the team’s success cannot only be attributed to their own merit. The team would like to thank its coach, Mr. Melchizedek Babilonia, and its moderator, Mr. Alwin Reclusado, for all their support throughout and leading up to the competition.

Once more, the Xavier Debate Team has proven its prowess in skilled discourse, and has defended its national title against the Philippine high school debating circuit.

Congratulations once more to the Xavier Debate Team for their win! Luceat Lux!

Photo by Mr. Pierre Reniva (HS SAP Coordinator)

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