ILOILO CITY -- The Philippine Sepak Takraw team is leaving this city on Tuesday, August 8, as it completed its almost two months of training here for Southeast Asian (SEA) Games starting this August 16 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Iloilo City Hall officials led by Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog gave their best wishes to the team, whose members and coaching staff made its appearance after Monday's flag-raising ceremony.
In an interview, Coach Hector Mamarion thanked the local governments of Iloilo City and province headed by Mabilog and Governor Arthur Defensor Sr., respectively, for adopting the team and supporting its training.
Mamarion said the team was supposedly set to train in Dipolog City but the training was cancelled after the Marawi City war broke out and the whole of Mindanao was placed under martial law.
He said the training facilities and the accommodation provided to them helped a lot in the conditioning of athletes. The national team trains outside of Metro Manila to have the athletes focus on their training.
Mamarion said the team will participate in five events - Regu, Team Doubles and Doubles for the Men’s team, and Regu and Double’s for the Women’s team.
The national team is also joining two Chinlone events. Chinlone is a new to Pinoy Sepak Takraw players that the team trained in Myanmar to master the sport. Chinlone is Myanmar’s national sport.
Mamarion said the team targets to bring home at least five medals - two gold, one silver, and one bronze.
The team composed of 12 men and eight women underwent more than one and a half month rigorous training here.
“We are thankful because Iloilo City adopted us,” said Mamarion.
Mamarion is an Ilonggo who hails from Sta. Barbara town, Iloilo. He joined the national team after he graduated college at Central Philippine University in 1996. He was a sepak takraw varsity in high school and college.
He is looking forward to the prospects of Sepak Takraw in Iloilo, and cited the increasing number of towns that have Sepak Takraw program.
“Nakita ko man na madamu sa mga Ilonggo nga mga kabataan ang mayo sa takraw. Sa PRISAA, CPU champion sa National PRISAA, baskug kag may potential. Damu na towns na naga-takraw na gid like Alimodian, Sta. Barbara kag Banate (There are many Ilonggo youth who are good in sepak takraw; the CPU team won in the National PRISAA, a strong team and has a potential. There are many towns that have sepak takraw like Alimodian, Sta. Barbara and Banate),” he said. (PNA)