October 21, 2023 (9:26 PM)

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LOGIC AND MIGHT. The Computer Studies Chameleons seized the Ignatian Cup crown in a fierce debate showdown against the School of Nursing Panthers on October 14, at the Miguel Pro Learning Commons Conference Room. Photo by Ryan Nathaniel Balleza

For the first time in Ignatian Cup history, Computer Studies (CS) Chameleons took home the crown against the School of Nursing (SON) Panthers during the grand finals of this year’s tournament.

CS B: Team Side Eye, composed of first-year students David Esfandiary (Prime Minister), Shania Sumalpong (Deputy Prime Minister), and Ralph Paolo Dulce (Government Whip), bested other clusters from start to finish, despite only being a reserved breaking team for the quarterfinals.

The grandfinals motion debated was, “This house regrets the glamorization of magis,” with CS B as government and SON B as the opposition. 

“We never intended to win. We were ecstatic to simply break and make it past eliminations, slipping by with not even a hair of margin being the reserve team,” Esfandiary said.

Esfandiary also shared that he had prior experiences in debating during high school, which led to him joining the cup, compared to his fellow teammates who had none.

“My teammates, on the other hand, Ralph and Shan, have had no experience debating prior to the cup. Zero. By the time eliminations started, they had only a singular mock debate under their belts. Their performance in this debate is thus infinitely more impressive than mine,” Esfandiary said.

Dulce shared that his decision to break out of his shell in college led to him joining the competition despite his lack of background in debating.

“When I heard of the Ignatian Cup, I got curious and decided that I was going to take this leap of faith. I had no prior experience; only my critical thinking skills honed from being a writer.” 

Dulce also shared that he practiced on his own by using online AI services.

“As a last-minute prep, I also debated with ChatGPT on my own. Though it is more difficult to argue with AI compared to humans, that was where I got the idea of how to think of rebuttals on the fly,” the third speaker said.

Sumalpong also added that one thing she learned during her experience was honing her listening and note-taking skills, as well as cooperation with her groupmates. 

“I think one of the factors why we won is we have a good group dynamic, and we support each other a lot even before and after the debate,” Sumalpong said. 

The team shared that they were guided by debate seniors throughout their journey, dedicating their win to the mentors and their cluster. 

“We were also privileged enough to receive the mentorship of the 1st-runner-ups of last year’s FOE debates and Kuya Aaron, an ADV member from the CS Cluster. Through them, we would not have been the Ignatian Cup 2023 champions,” Dulce said. 

SS Dragon wins overall best speaker award

Despite not having prior experience in being third speaker in debate tournaments, Social Sciences (SS) Dragon Jhon Henson Sanchez secured the Overall Best Speaker award during the competition.

Scoring 288 speaker points, Sanchez triumphed among the 30 participants and 10 groups who proceeded to the quarterfinals of the cup. 

“I just started joining competitions this year, and my first debate competition was just in February this year. However, I was always first speaker in those tournaments except in the Ignatian Cup, where it was my first time to be a third speaker,” Sanchez said.

Although Sanchez’s group, SS A: Mga Apo ni Stephen Marie did not qualify to compete for the grand finals, both he and teammate Cherry Atibagos, the second speaker of the group, placed among the top 10 best speakers, with Atibagos coming in 2nd Best Speaker with a score of 227 speaker points.

The tournament followed the Asian Parliamentary format, with the grand finals held in the Miguel Pro Learning Commons Multipurpose Room last October 14.



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