LAST August 17 to 21, eight students from Christian Academy of Bacolod, Livingstones International School, and University of St. La Salle-Integrated School flew to Taoyuan, Taiwan for the 2016 4th Asia Pacific Tchoukball Youth Championships (APYTC).
The Tchoukball Pilipinas M15 Girls Team (M15 to means 15 and under) are Bianca Marie Feliciano, Ivanna Aguilar, Nadine Crisostomo, Isabelle Villar, Jorja Montelibano, Ashley Pedregosa, Trishia Llera, and Mary Abelarde.
About 450 athletes from eight countries making up 32 teams who partook in the international event. Our local girls trained together as a team for only two months while their opponents have been playing as a team for five to 10 years. Despite their infancy, the PHL Team, who are all from Bacolod, finished second runner-up after losing to teams ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the world, Taiwan and Singapore, respectively.
Head coach is John Jamelo. He was joined by international referee Benjie Oray, Tchoukball Association of the Philippines (TAP) president Raymund Jamelo and wife Elvie Jamelo, and team manager Reve Abelarde.
Since the game has sevem players running, our girls’ team had one substitute for the 40-minute game. Two to three games were played per day during the three-day competition. By the end of each day, the girls were bandaged, taped, and limping. Despite reaching physical exertion, the Filipino “never say die” spirit energized them. These young girls “grew up” with the experience and exposure.
Although delegations from other countries were largely represented with 70 athletes and well-funded by their governments, our eight girls did not disappoint our country.
Being the smallest delegation, they won the hearts of the other athletes.
The coaching style of John Jamelo is admirable. It is intelligent, compassionate and effective in bringing out the best in every athlete, whom he considers “his kids.” The girls adore him. The parents trust him, too.
John’s parents, Raymund and Elvie, are passionate about making this sport grow in the country. They have been tirelessly working to get it exposed for the past six years, often self funding its promotion.
Reve Abelarde, manager of the team says: “As I was personally watching the games in Taiwan, it is an intelligent sport. Since Tchoukball rules do not allow a player to intercept the other team’s pass, it takes more strength to employ self-control. I would put my own child in a sport that would develop her self-control to the fullest.”
Our congratulations to the PHL Tchoukball team whose players all hail from Bacolod! For a first timer and making such an impression, our Sports Commission should be encouraging this sport.