Novice AHS debaters place second in Asian debate tournament; Adrian Padilla is best speaker of the final!

January 20, 2014
Photos courtesy of Renz Reyes

From left: the novice team of Renz Reyes, Adrian Padilla, and Manuel Ng placed second in the Jean-Marie Beurel Debate Cup, losing on a 4-3 split to the veteran world champion Singapore National Team.
Last 17-19 January 2014, the Ateneo de Manila High School Debaters sent three up and coming members to represent the school in the Jean-Marie Beurel Debate Open, a prestigious international debate competition held at the St. Joseph’s Institution in Singapore. To qualify for the competition, a high school must be invited by the host institution, and the Ateneo High School was invited this year due to its consistent excellence in national and international debate competitions.
The three members who represented the Ateneo High School were Adrian Padilla (3J), Manuel Ng (2O), and Renz Reyes (1A). The team was initially registered as a novice team, which means that all members of the team were fifteen years old and below during the time of the competition. This means that in the event they did not perform well enough to compete in the elimination rounds of the main category, they would be given a chance to compete for a Novice Cup Trophy.
The team, however, dropped Round 1 of the preliminary rounds by a small margin, and went on to sweep the remaining four preliminary rounds. This led them to be ranked as the 4th best team of the preliminary rounds out of 48 teams overall—by far the highest ranking novice team in the tournament. This also qualified them to compete in the main break.
The team of Padilla, Ng, and Reyes reached the Grand Finals of the tournament where they were to debate the World Schools Debating Championship (WSDC) Team of Singapore—the national team of Singapore for the world championships, which did not represent a single school or institution. WSDC Singapore won the World Championships for the High School level in 2012 and have consistently been ranked among the top national debate teams in the world.
After a greatly contested final, Team AHS A was ranked as the 1st Runners Up of the entire competition, after losing the final on the narrowest of margins: a 4-3 split before a panel of seven judges. They defended the Affirmative Side of the motion, “This house, as the United Nations, would release the Revolution.” The motion was designed to be set up in a hypothetical situation provided by the head judges of the event. Briefly, all finalists were to presume that the world was on the brink of a nuclear war after all negotiatons among countries had failed. The only way to stop nuclear war was to release a nanotechnology virus known as “the Revolution” that would be able to wipe out electricty around the world, and prevent any equipment running on electricity from functioning, including the machines that would be used to launch nuclear missiles. The trade off was that releasing the Revolution would lead to a world that would never have electricity again. Dinner with the adjudicators at a Japanese restaurant in Singapore following the competition.
Master Padilla was named as the Best Speaker of the Finals. All three members were also ranked among the Ten Best Speakers in Asia, with Padilla and Ng tied for 6th, and Reyes coming in at 9th. The team amazed and stunned participants and judges throughout the tournament alike, as very few believed that the three debaters were all qualified as novices. Once again, the Ateneo High School has proven to be among Asia’s leaders in public speaking, communications, and debate with a stellar performance.
The Ateneo Debaters thank their moderator Mrs. Fe U. de Jesus of the English Department. The team was coached by Mr. Mahar Abrera Mangahas, Mr. Henry Fernando, Mr. Daryl Isla, Mr. Javier Pablo, Mr. Ryan Abis, and Mr. Matt San Pedro. Finally, the Ateneo Debaters thank the entire Ateneo de Manila High School community for its constant support throughout all of its endeavors.