DAVAO'S women's volleyball coach Joaquin "Boy" Sarabia was teary-eyed when his players rushed to embrace him after they survived a five-set championship thriller against Western Visayas in the National Prisaa Games 2019 at the University of Mindanao (UM) covered court in Matina, Davao City on May 24.
Davao dethroned defending champion Western Visayas, 25-22, 14-25, 25-18, 25-15, 17-15, in their titular showdown to the elation of the appreciative crowd who jumped up and down, cheered and clapped their hearts out after April Rose Yura's spike sealed the match.
Sarabia, in an interview with SunStar Davao, said he cannot be prouder of his volleybelles who trained and prepared for the nationals on their own as he was tied to the hosting preparations as the project director.
"Wala nakoy masulti, naningkamot jud sila maski wala nako sila naasikaso. Naa sila pirmi para magpraktis (I can't say more, they really worked hard even if I was not with them the past weeks. They were always there, practicing on their own)," the best coach from UM said.
He also said that reaching the finals was not in their wildest imagination, as they were eliminated in Bohol last year.
"Nakaabot jud mi diri. Wala gani mi mag-expect nga makaabot mi sa quarterfinals, semis o sa finals. Napildi mi sa ilaha sa elimination five sets gihapon (We're finally here. We didn't even expect to reach the quarterfinals, semis or finals. We lost to them by five sets in the elimination)," he added.
Cyra Regine Olivar, in a separate interview, said, "Nakabawi mi, team work lang jud. Kung abante sila, mubawi lang jud mi (We recovered through team work. When they're up we just had to catch up). Masayang-masaya kami."
Yura was named most valuable player (MVP), while her teammates Eva Mae Andoque and Ashley Crystal Jade Hilig were hailed best setter and best blocker, respectively. Other awardees were Calabarzon's Betrice Tono (best server) and Western Visayas' Pearl Ann Denura (best libero) and Dessa Mae Puyo (best attacker).
However, Davao college men spikers of coach Jhonathan Vanta took the silver after they succumbed to Calabarzon, 21-25, 19-25, 23-25, in their finals match.
Coach Vanta said, "Andaming errors sa service line. Dikit pa naman mga score, sayang. It was our errors that gave them the championship."
Davao's Rex Paller (best attacker) and Romel Bughao (best setter) joined other special awardees MVP Johnn Israel Marfil, best libero Carlo Valencia, best blocker Nelson Olla and best coach Jerome Mirano of Calabarzon and best server Christian Marcilino of Western Visayas.
Meanwhile, Prince Macavinta-coached Davao region junior boys basketball team also claimed the gold by whipping Central Luzon, 81-58, at the Rizal Memorial Colleges Petro Gazz Arena yesterday.
College women's basketball defending champion Davao region, for its part, was stripped off its crown after losing to Soccsksargen, 89-97. Davao coach Crisanthemum "Ining" Sarabia said, "I'm okay. We did our best. We will try to bounce back next year."
SunStar Davao’s coverage of the National Prisaa Games 2019 is made possible by major sponsors Matina Enclaves, Santos Land Development, 8890 Holdings, Inc., Anflocor, Sky Cable and Pagcor and minor sponsors Aeon Luxe Properties, Davao Doctors College, GH Office Depot, Grand Land Inc., Alu Hotel, Davao Medical School Foundation, NCCC and Office of the Special Assistant to the President.
The National Prisaa Games 2019 is supported by the Philippine Sports Commission, City Government of Davao, Department of Education and Commission on Higher Education.