Rise of the Warriors-A A +A
Monday, August 26, 2013
“LET’S go Warriors, let’s go!’ This cheer from athletes, parents and teachers reverberated through the Elizabeth Mall just as they were about to announce a new overall champion in the secondary division of the Milo Little Olympics on Sunday.
There was jubilation as a new winner was crowned. The University of San Carlos Basic
Education (USC-BED) Warriors finally unseated 17-time champion University of Cebu (UC) for the secondary division title. Not only that, USC also topped the elementary division for the third straight time.
USC finished with 220 points, while UC slid to second place with 175.8 points.
Abellana National School (ANS) salvaged third with 74.25.
In the elementary division, USC dominated with 238.5 points with the University of the
Visayas (UV) Main at a distant second with 62.5. Sacred Heart School Ateneo-de Cebu (SHS-Ateneo) came in third with 55 points.
“Witnessing all of the efforts that the athletes and coaches and sports coordinators have put in, seeing their hard work and dedication and ending up with this, is amazing. Mura sad ka ug gibayaw,” said USC BED athletic director Saturnino Mayormita.
While Mayormita gave all the credit to the athletes, it was actually through his initiative that USC started a sports program a few years ago. This double victory just goes to show how effective the program is.
But coming up with this successful endeavor did not happen overnight. It took USC four years before finally dislodging UC from the top spot.
“It took time and four tries since we started this program to finally win over UC,” said Mayormita.
Mayormita said that one of the biggest factors that led to their win was their deep pool of athletes as the two USC campuses—the north and south—merged manpower.
As of the moment, the school has 300 athletes in its program. They enjoy varied kinds of scholarship packages depending on their performances.
“I am very grateful that even if we struggle, the administration is very much behind us, supporting us all the way. We finally did it. The fruits of our labor,” said Mayormita.
To prepare for the Milo tournament, USC had tryouts in all their campuses at the end of each school year. Their training started in the summer and went on until the games.
Mayormita also said that it also helped that their athletes who did not do well last year, finally stepped up this year.
“Our volleyball team did not make it last year, but this time, we won in the secondary boys against a top contender in Abellana. And having basketball for the first time is also a good thing for us because we have had a strong basketball program as well,” said Mayormita.
Milo included basketball in its events for the first time this year.
Late the other day, UC still held on to the lead tightly. But USC wouldn’t have any of it.
Playing like there was no tomorrow, its volleyball and basketball squads pulled all stops to win two more championship titles, sealing the win in the standings.
In the basketball competitions, the USC elementary easily trounced Ateneo, 56-47. But the real action was in the secondary division when the USC beat Ateneo, 56-55, in overtime.
After figuring in a 44-all finish in regulation, Ateneo quickly went to work behind Niño Araw-araw, who hit a three for Ateneo to take the lead. But Neon Chavez answered and rained down threes along with Dejoe Taytayan for a 12-5 run by USC to take the lead, 56-52.
Araw-araw had a triple in the last eight seconds to cut the lead to 56-55, but USC held on to as time expired.
Chavez led with 18 points as USC earned the right to represent the Visayas in the national finals in October.
UC was leading by 52.8 points late yesterday but after the 60 points from basketball and volleyball was added, plus the points they earned from gymnastics, USC zoomed to the top of the ranking.
Ateneo absorbed a quadruple whammy yesterday as it lost all four finals. It lost the elementary football title to Don Bosco, 4-0, and the secondary division title to Paref-Springdale, 3-0.
Ateno and Springdale were both scoreless in the first half. But two minutes into the second half, Sabin Veloso came in and scored all of Springdale’s three goals in six minutes starting in the 54th.
Ateneo still came in sixth in the secondary division ranking and third in the elementary division.
Meanwhile, another team that suddenly popped into the overall ranking yesterday in the elementary division was the University of Visayas.
UV was only in 22nd place in the rankings the other day, but jumped to second yesterday, behind their gymnastics squad. Marianne Alegado and Daniela Reggie Dela Pisa led the team’s assault with Alegado winning three golds and Dela Pisa winning two.
Before the games UV was expected to earn more points from basketball but UV pulled out all basketball teams without any explanation.
The tournament ended without any problems save for two basketball squads in the elementary division, which decided to skip their battle for third place matches.
Because of the double forfeit, both teams shared the third spot.
This incensed organizer Ricky Ballesteros who said they decided not to give the teams any medals.
Ballesteros said that this is a first for Milo and he will bring this up with the national organizing in their next meeting.
“We don’t have rules against this just yet but I will suggest that next time a team does this, we would sanction them,” said Ballesteros.
Elementary basketball tournament manager Rico Navarro said the teams told him that they were already tired from playing since the semifinals were done earlier the other day.
Ballesteros said that they will right away be preparing for the national finals as not only are they expecting to put on a show as this year’s hosts, but they are also hoping to snatch the overall championship title back to the Visayas after NCR grabbed it last year.
“By this week, we will be meeting with the coaches and tournament managers so that we could start with the training right away,” Ballesteros said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 26, 2013.