July 10, 2015
AHS Debaters

 L-R: Rafa Lapira (9th best speaker in Asia), Renz Reyes (2nd best speaker in Asia), and Adrian Padilla (5th best speaker in Asia)
The Asian Schools Debate Championship (ASDC) is the largest and most prestigious debate competition for high school students in Asia. It is attended by students, judges, and coaches from Singapore, China, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and other countries.
The seventh ASDC was hosted by the Asia Pacific University (APU) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from July 3-9, 2015. The Ateneo de Manila High School debaters finished their Asian Championship run as first runners-up on the slimmest of margins. In the Grand Finals, AHS A, comprised of Rafa Lapira (A 2015), Adrian Padilla (J 2015), and Renz Reyes (11-A) lost to the Malaysian school of SMK Sri Permata Team A. AHS A debated the finals motion, “Assuming the technology exists, this house would digitize the consciousness of the world's most brilliant minds” on the affirmative side. Before a panel of seven judges, four voted for SMK Sri Permata, while three voted for Ateneo High School.
The three other AHS teams represented the school exceptionally well. AHS D, comprised of Nicky Solis (11-B), Ervin Grana (11-L), and Paulo Valencia (11-N) reached the Asian Semifinals and was one of the top four teams of the tournament, before they were eventually eliminated by AHS A. AHS B, comprised of Tres Yap (12-B 2015), Josiah Encinas (12-F 2015), and Luigi Alcañeses (11-A) were ranked as the second best team of the tournament after the preliminary rounds but were knocked out by AHS D in the quarterfinals. AHS C—an all-novice team consisting of Lorenzo Lazaro (11-A), Hans Gonzalez (10-M), and Sam Zabat (10-G) also did well throughout their first experience in debating at the international level. JC Cruz (11-L) was the final member of the contingent who participated as a judge throughout the competition.
The debaters bagged the most individual awards as well. Ateneo High School set a new Asian record of having the most students rank individually among the top ten best speakers of Asia with four members of the contingent receiving medals and trophies in this category. Renz Reyes was ranked 2nd best speaker in Asia, also breaking the record for highest scoring/highest ranked Filipino in ASDC history. He  missed the top speaker in Asia award by 0.22 points in terms of his average. Adrian Padilla was named 5th best speaker in Asia, Rafa Lapira 9th best speaker in Asia, and Luigi Alcañeses 10th best speaker in Asia. Until this year, the most number of top ten speakers from a single contingent was three, which AHS set at the inaugural ASDC in 2009, tied in 2010, repeated once more in 2013, and finally broke in 2015.

Nicky Solis was awarded as the second best novice speaker at ASDC, while Ervin Grana was awarded as the fifth best novice.

L-R: Ervin Grana (5th best novice speaker), Nicky Solis (2nd best novice speaker), Lorenzo Lazaro, Renz Reyes (2nd best speaker in Asia), Luigi Alcañeses (10th best speaker in Asia), Paulo Valencia

It is also worth noting that this Asian Grand Finals appearance is the third of AHS in four years (2012, 2013, 2015) and fourth in sixth (AHS won the Asian Championship in 2010). No other school in Asia has appeared more than twice in the Asian Final.
The moderator of the team is Mrs. Fe De Jesus of the English Department, and the head coach is Mr. Mahar Abrera Mangahas. The team was accompanied by Henry Fernando, Isaac Lee, and Jim Bulan during the competition. Special thanks is extended to Miko Biscocho, Bas Claudio, Daryl Isla, Miguel Ventura, Ryan Abis, Javier Pablo, and Martin Abis for helping train the team throughout four months of preparation for the competition.
The team would like to recognize its major sponsors Siguion, Reyna, Montecillo & Ongsiako (SRMO) Law Office and SyCip, Salazar, Hernandez, & Gatmaitan Law Office, without whom the journey of the Ateneo Debaters would not have been possible. The team would also like to thank Mr. Lance Gokongwei and Cebu Pacific for giving the team special prices for airfare in order to make the trip to Malaysia.
The team would also like to thank Ambassador Jose Eduardo Malaya, Ambassador of the Philippines to Malaysia, and Mr. Jerico N. Redito and Ms. Karissa Atienza of the Philippine Embassy who warmly welcomed the team to Malaysia and even accompanied the team during the Grand Finals to show support for the country.

(L-R) Lorenzo Lazaro, Ervin Grana, Isaac Lee, Nicky Solis, Henry Fernando, Josiah Encinas, Ambassador  Jose Eduardo Malaya, Hans Gonzalez, Luigi Alcañeses, Sam Zabat, Jim Bulan, and JC Cruz. Photo was taken at the Philippine Embassy after a courtesy call.
Finally, the team extends its heartfelt appreciation to the Ateneo High School community, especially Ms. Kristine Valdellon and Mr. Arvin Sadia of the Office of Student Activities, for its unwavering support and encouragement. The team is thankful for its opportunity to represent the school and country in ASDC.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!

(L-R) Daryl Isla, Renz Reyes, Henry Fernando, Sam Zabat, Nicky Solis, Ervin Grana, Lorenzo Lazaro, Hans Gonzalez, Luigi Alcañeses, JC Cruz, Isaac Lee, Jim Bulan, Paulo Valencia, Tres Yap, Josiah Encinas, Rafa Lapira, and Adrian Padilla