In March 2020, the remaining University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 82 games were suspended and the following season was consequently put on hold due to the rising global threat of coronavirus. We know you miss the thrill of watching games live and showing off your school spirit, so here's something that might bring back a sense of nostalgia for the avid sports fans.
If you've ever watched a UAAP basketball or volleyball game ~live~ to support your team (especially if you've made it a tradition with your college barkada), then you're probably familiar with Jeffren Ganding's voice.
Jeffren, who graduated from Far Eastern University in 2019 with a bachelor's degree in Communication, is the designated court announcer for basketball and volleyball games. You'll hear him hype up the crowd with one booming "Are you ready?" spiel as well as update viewers with what's going down on the court.
"It all started on the January of 2019, I was still a student back then at FEU," Jeffren shares in an online chat with Candy. "Then one night my mentor asked me if I’d like to audition for the 'barker' position in the UAAP. Since I wasn’t familiar, I thought it’d be like what jeepney barkers do so noong una ‘di ko sineryoso. After which he sent me a clip of a UAAP game with the late legendary barker Rolly Manlapaz doing the voice-works."
Jeffren sent his audition samples and patiently waited for the results. A week later, however, he learned that someone else was chosen for the spot and thought that being a barker just wasn't meant for him. But a second chance came and it was quite an ~intense~ experience for a newbie like him. "[The] weekend came and they called me up to audition again, this time in person at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan. I didn’t know that they were going to test me out in the field with little to none background of the job. I was an athlete before and that was the only thing I knew, I played volleyball.
"I could’ve said no because I really didn’t prepare myself for that kind of challenge but I remembered my university and professors, and what they taught me: to grab every opportunity that comes along the way, so I said, let’s do it."
It wasn't exactly the most pleasant experience, but it ultimately encouraged Jeffren and built him up to be the announcer he is today. "I sat at the announcer’s table, then my floor director at that time said 'Jeff, get ready na ma-bash.' I got so nervous but I got through it. Checking on the comments, it wasn’t pleasant. No one’s really good right off the bat. Those criticisms made the barker I am today. I had my fair share of downfalls but that made my story of becoming more beautiful."
Dealing with high-pressure events like UAAP games is a skill that you get better at over time and through more experience. But like with any other profession in the world, someone else can just take your spot and do the job. "The thing that kept me going whenever I felt like I can’t be better or do better is what my mentor told me, 'You could quit and give it to somebody else,' and that shook me and I woke up."
Just a year after taking on the job, Jeffren has become an announcer for other sports leagues like BVR, SEA Games, and FIVB Beach Volley World Tour. "Those are just God’s plan and for those asking how to get in, I hope to see you soon. Pray for it. :) Let God do the planning, never leave His side, and continue walking the path He’s prepared."
Aside from the sports themselves, the athletes, and the behind-the-scenes people that make sure UAAP is what it is today, Jeffren also misses the students and sports fans who make time to attend the games live. "Have you ever heard of the crowd? No matter how hassle it is to get out after the games because there’s just too many people, it’s okay kasi I get to hype them up along with the players."
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