Playing it hard

Clashing physiques, flashy moves, and the locked-in resolve to win—these are the tenacious forces that rattle the thrilling action-packed battle between sports rivals.

From Sparta to Stephen Curry, sports has strived for a spot permanently carved in people’s interests, especially for the rivalries that have grown to be one of the monumental facets in sports’ iron-clad imprint on the masses. Rivalries have bloomed in the sports realm to reach out the hearts of community—sports fan or not. As we show you some of the best, we have only one piece of advice before you begin—grab your seats on the courtsides and witness before you the battle of the top rivalries of the athletic kingdoms.


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Football Civil War: El Clasico

Present-day’s fantastic talents Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are just the side story in the so-called El Clasico. It was a rivalry between Madrid’s Real Madrid Club de Fútbol and Catalonia’s Alcantara-led football club Barcelona—otherwise known as “El Clasico” or The Classic—that began it all.

The Spanish Nationalism (Real Madrid) versus the Catalans (Barcelona) records back to the beginning of the 20th Century when Spanish general Francisco Franco conquered Madrid to halt the Spanish Civil War. Since Catalonia hated the policies of the General, who in return hated Catalonia, the Catalans supported their football club and hailed it as “Mes que un club” or “more than just a club” as a sign of rebellion and a way to preserve their culture.

Although the rivalry continued on and grew into modern-day Ronaldo and Messi, the dispute between the two cultures lives on within the present rosters of the two teams.


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Battle of the Kin: The Manila Clasico

Although the departure of James Yap from the Purefoods Star Hotshots daggered the hearts of its fans, the roots of his legacy remain intact. However, as the fans say, it will never be the same as before.

Considered as the Philippine version of Europe’s “El Clasico”—the fierce match-up between San Miguel Corporation (SMC)’s sister companies Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Purefoods Star Hotshots fires up the hearts of their fans in every conference of Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). Lasting for 28 years, the rivalry’s classic name came up in 2012 when Jaemark Tordecillo, former managing editor, called the brawl “Manila Clasico” because the rivalry carries its way off the hardwood just like Europe’s “El Clasico.”

The two of the most popular professional basketball teams in the country began the rivalry in 1988, when one of the greatest PBA player of all time Ramon Fernandez established the rookie-filled Purefoods Hotdogs (now Hotshots). Encountering a former teammate and competitor of the same breed, Fernandez would face Robert Jaworski together with his team, Ginebra San Miguel, in the finals. In defiance of their underrated rookie team, the Hotdogs trounced Ginebra in the first game but failed to win the championship after benching playing coach Fernandez while blaming the SMC Company for a game-fixing accusation. However, the rivalry proved to be the continuation of the Jaworski-Fernandez feud since the adversaries had faced in a controversial finals before. As the clash goes on, the fans still savor the anticipated event while feeling the intensity between these sister teams.

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