Davao del Norte: The Western Visayas football team thumped the National Capital Region (NCR) team 1-1 (3-2 on penalty shootout) to clinch the boys’ secondary football crown in the 58th Palarong Pambansa on Saturday at the Davao del Norte Sports and Tourism Complex in Tagum City.
The Western Visayas Regional Athletic Association, under the tutelage of head coach John Carmona, relied on 2015 Palaro Most Valuable Player Jed Delariate in ending Western Visayas’ seven-year football title drought.
“At last, we finally ended the drought. The last time we won this title was in 2008,” Carmona, 43, whose players were composed mostly of students from San Carlos, Negros High School. “The players have sacrificed a lot and successfully balanced their study and training.”
In the elementary division, NCR won over Western Visayas, 4-3, for the championship crown.
In volleyball at the University of Mindanao Tagum Campus, NCR copped the girls’ secondary gold medal after posting a 21-25, 25-16, 25-16, 19-25, 18-16 victory over Davao Region, while Western Visayas beat Region 1, 15-25, 25-23, 27-25, 22-25, 15-10, to win the gold in the boys’ secondary class.
In the other match, Southern Tagalog defeated Central Visayas, 25-11, 25-7, 25-20, to win the gold in the girls’ elementary division.
In basketball at the University of Southeastern Philippines, NCR won the gold in the secondary division after thrashing Central Luzon, 79-61, while Davao Region beat Western Visayas, 67-66, in the elementary category finals.
NCR closed its campaign in this year’s Palaro as overall champion with 98 gold medals, 67 silver medals and 71 bronze medals, followed by Southern Tagalog (51-41-49) and Western Visayas (42-48-41).
Palaro forges excellence in sports
Young Filipino athletes see the annual Palarong Pambansa as a springboard to greater athletic achievements.
Tennis player Shaira Hope Rivera, long jumper Martin James Esteban and swimmer Maurice Sacho Ilustre shared their insights on how the Palaro has helped them as athletes.
“Exposure is very important to us. We compete in different tournaments here in Davao while some of us are going one place to another just to compete against the best,” Rivera, 15, told The Manila Times.
Rivera, who led the Davao region to back-to-back victories in girls’ tennis team event, was thankful to the Palaro and her coach.
“A student athlete should train according to the instruction of his or her coach. You have to follow your coach at all times. Discipline is very important. Training is nothing if you don’t have it.”
Esteban, 17, said that setting a goal is important. “You have to dream. I want to be a national athlete who competes in the Olympics. That’s my goal first,” he said.
“You have to study also your own sport and prepare for the worst,” said the long jumper Esteban of Pampanga. “That’s why you’re training. Being an athlete is no joke. You need to know what makes you successful and what makes you fail.”
Ilustre, a 15-year-old swimmer from the NCR, said that nutrition and conditioning are big factors in achieving success. “Training and having a good condition are important keys,” he said.
Sto. Cristo Elementary School Principal and member of the Department of Education monitoring team Antonio Miranda emphasized the importance of the Palaro as a grassroots sports development program.
“Palarong Pambansa is very important to Philippine sports. Because schools all over the country are the ones that find and develop athletes in their particular regions. Palaro is a good grassroots program,” said Miranda, 45, who got his Education degree from the Holy Angel University.
Miranda added that the role of parents in the honing a student athlete is also very important.
“Parents play a vital part in how to influence their kids to excel,” he said. “Some of the parents are finding ways to provide their kids the exposure they need. They also go with their kids during competition and are very supportive.”
Miranda, himself a former sipa coach in Palarong Pambansa, said that the athletes must be smart in attaining balance in physical and intellectual development.
“The athletes need to be smart because they must know how to balance their study and training too,” Miranda added.
Miranda believes that the Filipinos should do what they can with what they have at the moment, “We cannot follow China’s sports program and other countries, where at early age they train hard because we have a different culture. Education is very important to us. We can’t be too scientific like China and Singapore, but we can be successful in some ways with this kind of program like the Palaro.”