AFTER a few days forced to idle around, members of the Cebu Province are now on game mode as they start their chase for the gold medal in the U-15 girls’ division of the Batang Pinoy National Champinoships in Baguio City.

One of the perennial contenders in their division, Cebu Province did not leave any stone un-turned in their preparation in the national sporting meet organized by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

Futsal head coach Rose Ton Bariñan told SunStar Cebu yesterday that they focused on developing the on-ball endurance of the players as an adjustment to the high-altitude atmosphere in Baguio City.

The team, composed of players from Labogon National High School, Alcoy, Liloan, Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu and the University of Southern Philippines (USP-F), practiced every Friday, Saturday and Sunday before flying to Baguio City.

The whole Cebu Province delegation arrived in Baguio City on Thursday dawn, about 20 hours before typhoon Ompong made a landfall in Cagayan, northern Luzon. The city was under Signal No.3 and the strength of Ompong was felt by the athletes last Saturday.

“We were scared because of the strong winds and also there was no electricity at some point. But now the typhoon is outside PAR, the focus now is back to our goal, which is to play our best game,” said team captain Cathlean Mae Delos Santos in Cebuano.

Bariñan, the coach of the Mandaue City team that won the gold medal in the 2015 edition of Batang Pinoy Nationals, said that they have a good chance of winning if her players will show the same level of play and intensity as they did in Cebu.

“We had tune-up games against college players in Cebu. There’s a good chance of winning the gold if we play hard and work as a team here,” said Bariñan, who recently steered Central Visayas to a gold medal finish in the 2018 Palarong Pambansa in Vigan last summer.

Bariñan said that she challenged the players to give a good account of Cebu since it has some of country’s top young female futsal players.

Each team will play a single-round robin elimination with the top two advancing to the next round at the St. Louise University. The games will kick off today but the team schedule was not yet released as of press time.

On the other hand, the medal-rich track and field is set to open the tournament today. But with the current weather, the track and field athletes were advised by coaches to expect a cold race.

“The weather will have an effect on the athletes’ performance. If they are not used to this it can cause cramps. On our part we have prepared the athletes by letting them run just inside the room early in the morning. We haven’t practice in the oval since we arrived because of the weather,” said Cebu Province athletic coach Francis Berizo.

Cebu Province’s physician Don Ferolin said that the athletes will be reminded to take potassium replacement to avoid cramps. Eating banana and proper hydration would help avoid this, he said.