Visually impaired athletes shine in Palaro goal ball debut; Davao wins

CEBU. Davao's Christian Lloyd Gavito being interviewed, together with his coach Normelito Doria.
CEBU. Davao's Christian Lloyd Gavito being interviewed, together with his coach Normelito Doria.Ryan Monungolh

By Ryan Monungolh, Maybelle Joyce Bajao

THE first round of goal ball games at the Palarong Pambansa 2024 commenced on July 11, 2024, at Bright Academy, Cebu City, marking the start of this para-game category.

Designed for players with visual impairments, each team comprises three players who rely on sound cues to navigate the court and score goals using a ball equipped with noise-making metal inserts.

In one of the afternoon matches, Davao Region (Region 11) faced off against the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in a highly anticipated showdown.

Davao quickly gained a significant lead, achieving a ten-point advantage within minutes, which promptly ended the match.

This unexpected turn left the crowd surprised, accustomed to a full 20-minute games.

Christian Lloyd Gavito, hailed as the “star player” by his coach, expressed his happiness and excitement post-victory, emphasizing the team's unexpected success.

"Happy lang siya, bali experience nga kulba... happy nga nadaog (it was a happy game... it was a nerve-wracking experience... happy that we won),” Gavito said.

Normelito Doria, coach of the Davao team, highlighted the challenges posed by the smaller frames of their opponents, which initially caused apprehension among the Davao team. However, their determination and focus propelled them to victory.

“Sobrang overwhelmed sa kanilang ginagawa. Yeah, tinuloy na lang nila sa isang round lang (they were overwhelmed with what they were doing. Yeah, they just continued for one round),” Doria said.

Looking ahead, Doria and Gavito expressed optimism about their upcoming matches against Zamboanga Peninsula (Region 9) and Soccsksargen (Region 12).

"Wish nako is madaog lang gyud mi sa championship, ana lang jud,” Gavito said.

Doria acknowledged the team's reliance on faith and strength to overcome challenges.

“Kung wala doon sa taas, hindi kami mananalo. Siya nagbigay sa amin ng strength, lakas, lahat na. Thank you Lord (if it weren't for Him above, we wouldn't win. He gave us strength, power, everything. Thank you, Lord),” Doria said. (Maybelle Joyce Bajao and Ryan Monungolh, HNU Comm Interns)

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