NCR rules again

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

BANGON Visayas. That was the battlecry of the home team going into the 5th National Milo Little Olympics.

And it will remain just that. A battlecry. Visayas failed to cop the overall title after the National Capital Region (NCR) posted 615 points, winning by just six points over Visayas. Luzon came in third with 416, while Mindanao finished fourth with 400 points.

Despite the loss, officials feel Visayas’ performance was more than what they expected and it showed the people’s ability to get past tragedy and do something great for a region that is looking for something positive to hold on to.

Sports, officials say, had been a great therapy for the kids and the Milo Little Olympics was evidence that the region has in fact recovered from it.

“The earthquake caused trauma on our kids. It got worse with that super typhoon. But look at them? They have exceeded all our expectations, giving it their all and still came up with this performance. We are nothing less than proud,” said official Jessica Jawad-Honoridez. “Sports is an important therapy to these kids. I was amused that from talking about the horror stories about the earthquake and the typhoon, they are now talking about the game, the results and what other tournaments they will be competing in and it is a good thing.”

Visayas head Ricky Ballesteros said that there will be no blaming anybody for a second-place finish. In fact, he said, he has nothing but pride for the team.

“I looked at each player during the games and you can see the determination in each of them. Everybody gave their best. You can see it in their eyes. The game had become secondary as what became more important was how we were able to weather the two calamities,” said Ballesteros.

A few weeks ago, Bohol and its neighboring islands were hit by a 7.1 magnitude quake and before Visayas could recover, Super Typhoon Yolanda hit.

The national finals was in fact, rescheduled because of the quake to assure safety of the participants.

Ballesteros said he does not want to blame the calamities for losing at their turf. He simply said that he believed they were ready but NCR was just a little bit more prepared.

However, the quake and the typhoon did hamper the training of several athletes.

“There were training venues that had to be sacrificed as these were turned into relief operation centers. And between training and finding it in ourselves to help out, we found it more important to help. We forgot training for a while because we had to help. If our athletes had more time to prepare, we could have won,” said Honoridez.


NCR lorderd it over in the secondary division, sweeping the girls and boys athletics, lawn tennis and swimming competitions, the boys badminton, girls chess, men’s artistic gymnastics, the rhythmic gymnastics and the girls volleyball.

NCR only finished second to the Visayas in the elementary division.

NCR delegation head Dr. Milton Calo said he did not expect to win because he knows Cebu is strong in its homecourt.

“My players exceeded my expectations. But I am also equally proud of the Visayas
players to have performed well despite the devastation they have gone through in the past two months,” said Calo.

Calo added that next year, when the national finals shifts back to NCR, he expects the Visayas to be more aggressive. He also said they need to step up since they are expecting stiffer competition from Luzon, which will have more Baguio teams next year.

Yesterday, the home team capped its performance with gold medals from taekwondo courtesy of Veronica Garces, Jinielka Hamsnella Albero, Julinne Bermijo, Deb Matthew Daclan, John Christian Magpalo, Jason Lenard Locsin and Kristian Ralph Tagarao.

In gymnastics Visayas got gold medals from Eunie Ginell Soronio in the floor exercises of the elementary Women’s Artistic Gymnastics (WAG) and Francin Ly Coyoca (balance beam), Deseriey Padilla (vault, all around).

Renante Padilla won multiple medals in the floor, vault, individual all-around of the elementary division of the Men’s Artistic Gymnastics (MAG).

In rhythmic gymnastics, Visayas swept the elementary division behind Mariane Alegado, who won the rope, and Daniela dela Pisa, who won the hoop, ribbon and individual all-around events. Visayas also won the team event.

NCR swept the secondary division.

Visayas also swept the secondary division of the tennis competition. In athletics, Joseph Berdin won another medal after topping the elementary boys’ javelin throw. John Christian Capasao took the secondary boys title in javelin throw. April Joy Baoto won the elementary girls triple jump, while the elementary girls’ tag team won the 4x100m and 4x400m relays. The secondary boys team also won the 4x100m relay.

In table tennis, the girls team, led by Athena Comaingking, took the secondary division title. The Visayas also took the elementary girls title.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 02, 2013.


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