IT’S the second time that I will be filling in for Mang Nars Padilla, who early Friday morning called me up just to ask me if I could do his column.
So here goes.
After a roller coaster 2017 for Team Lakay where its most popular fighter, Eduard Folayang lost his lightweight belt, Geje Eustaquio redeemed the country’s top mixed martial arts (MMA) team by winning the interim flyweight crown by outpointing Kairat Akhmetov last month.
It was a stellar performance for Team Lakay after Joshua Pacio won with a rear naked choke win on Lan Ming Qiang in just barely four minutes of action. Edward Kelly recorded a 21-second knockout win on Meas Meul. Those wins made up for April Osenio first round loss to Jomary Torres in just 40 seconds of action.
Still, it was a spectacular year opener for Lakay which is expected to scale more heights this year including a comeback win for Folayang.
Folayang is probably one of the most resilient fighters among Mark Sangiao’s wards. At 17, he failed to get a medal in 2001 South East Asian Games where Sangiao won a gold. The four man team sent by the Wushu Federation took home two golds and a silver with Jearome Calica accounting for the second gold and Rexel Nganhayna bringing home the silver.
After nearly a year of absence, Folayang came back stronger, and wiser, as he took the gold in the 2003 SEAG in Ho Chi Minh City. He repeated in the Bacolod hosted SEAG in 2005, and after missing on two editions when his weight category of 70 kilos was scrapped, he went home with his third gold in 2011 in Djakarta.
Folayang has won a silver and bronze medals in the 2006 Asian Games in Doha and 2002 Busan Games, while in 2005, he got a gold in the World Wushu Championships.
Now, he is called MMA’s Manny Pacquiao that even at 33, Folayang is still god for many fights.
He is expected to hit the ONE Championship cage on April.
Last December, I wrote about the University of the Cordilleras High School girls’ volleyball team and how they overcame the talent drain that saw them rise like the phoenix.
They lost in three sets to Apayao’s Pudtol Vocational High School in the Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association (Caraa) early this month. But they came back strong last weekend to hand the visiting Apayao six a five set thriller that will send them to the national finals on March 7-8 in Manila.
The veterans came to the rescue during the finals with top attacker Aice Parrocha sealing the victory for the Baby Jaguars with her two kills and winners in the fifth set. The 5’3” daughter of former University of Baguio Cardinal men’s basketball team Bart had lots of help from Rosemar Borlongan, the aspiring beauty queen and ramp model, who helped Parrocha man the middle.
Borlongan, who celebrated her 17th birthday last week, has for the mean time took a break from her modeling venture to concentrate on improving her skills. Indeed it is paying off.
But it could be libero Jingle Egid who was the missing link in the Baby Jaguars losing campaign in the Caraa.
Egid, who turned 18 also earlier this month, was eligible to play this time. She missed the cut-off age for the Caraa. This time, UC has a libero to dig for the team. She was the tournament’s best libero to join Parrocha as most valuable player and 2nd best middle attacker and Borlongan, who was 1st best middle attacker in the awards.
It was dedication that lifted this team out of the hole they were in middle of the year when most of their starters staged a coup d’etat and refused to train. In came the young players from the ABCamp which coach Sherry Ann Floresca staged for volleyball wannabes, most have zero knowledge of the game. When the team lost to UB in the Volleyball Development League finals, the Baby Jaguars were jolted to consciousness.
Nowhere to turn to, Floresca found new recruits within the ABCamp pool.
With the six new recruits now playing for the team and showing true grit, the senior players found the inspiration that drew them back to play and train. Grade 11 Vina Adviento assumed the captain’s seat that saw her pushing her team to train harder that in no time, the new recruits were able to stand their ground. By December, barely five months after their inclusion, they have helped the team retain the district crown.
The Caraa was their next mission. They, however, were still found lacking.
Floresca says that the team has a long way to go. “Marami pang kakainin. But then they are dedicated. They want to learn specially the new ones and that is something to look forward to,” she said.
Indeed, it is something to look forward to. Parrocha and Egid are on their way out but UC will not be left wanting. These are big shoes to fill but Floresca is confident that with little time, they will manage.
The future looks promising.