Vietnam-bound

Davao City’s Labanon, Alaba, and Pagayon to compete in 13th Asean Schools Games
EXCITED. Davao City athletes—swimmer Paolo Miguel Labanon and track stars Desiree Alaba and Mary Jane Pagayon— are upbeat about their participation in the 13th Asean Schools Games (ASG) in Da Nang, Vietnam, from May 29 to June 9, 2024 as part of the Philippine delegation.
EXCITED. Davao City athletes—swimmer Paolo Miguel Labanon and track stars Desiree Alaba and Mary Jane Pagayon— are upbeat about their participation in the 13th Asean Schools Games (ASG) in Da Nang, Vietnam, from May 29 to June 9, 2024 as part of the Philippine delegation. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

Three top athletes from Davao City—swimmer Paolo Miguel Labanon and track stars Desiree Alaba and Mary Jane Pagayon—will represent Team Philippines at the 13th Asean Schools Games (ASG) in Da Nang, Vietnam, from May 29 to June 9, 2024.

Their inclusion in the official delegation was confirmed in a memorandum issued by lawyer Revsee Escobedo, an undersecretary of the Department of Education (DepEd), on May 6, 2024, and released on May 10, 2024.

Labanon, Alaba, and Pagayon earned their spots after excelling at the national tryouts held at the PhilSports Complex in Pasig City last month. They were invited to the tryouts by meeting the qualifying standards during the Davao Region Athletic Association (Davraa) Meet 2024.

AT LAST

Labanon, who secured three gold medals (boys' 200m and 400m freestyle and 200m butterfly) and one bronze (100m freestyle) at the national invitational tryouts, is upbeat about his participation.

"DepEd already sent a memo na po, and this time after two consecutive postponements, matutuloy napo talaga (DepEd already sent a memo, and this time after two consecutive postponements, it will actually push through)," said the 17-year-old Mapua Malayan Colleges Mindanao (MMCM) Grade 11 student in a Messenger interview with SunStar Davao on Wednesday, May 15.

Labanon, the accomplished six-footer swimmer who clinched all gold medals in his seven events at the Davao Region Athletic Association (Davraa) Meet 2024, is currently awaiting confirmation of his events for the ASG.

I’m preparing for it the same as I did for my last international competition, but I aim to perform even better this time.
Paolo Miguel Labanon, bemedaled Davao City swimmer

He also competed in the 11th Asian Age Group Aquatics Championships held at the New Clark City Aquatics Center from February 26 to March 9, 2024.

INTERNATIONAL DEBUT

Alaba and Pagayon, both varsity scholars at the Emar Human and Environmental College (Ehec), are gearing up for their inaugural international competition representing their country, and they couldn't be more thrilled.

Alaba, a 17-year-old 11th grader, expressed her excitement, saying, "Happy kaayo (I'm very happy) because it's my first time. Isa ko sa mag-represent sa country (I will be among those who will represent the country)."

She will vie for honors in the long jump and triple jump, which she dominated in the Davraa Meet 2024.

Acknowledging the need for improvement, Alaba diligently focuses on her daily training regimen, which runs from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. before attending her classes starting at 8 a.m. After her classes, her training, mostly jumping drills, resumes at 3 p.m. at the University of Mindanao (UM) track oval.

Pagayon, on the other hand, will race in the girls' 800-meter run in Vietnam.

Happy sobra, Ma'am, kay isa nako sa mu-represent sa country, nga dati ginapangarap lang nako ni. Karon gihatag na gyud ni Lord sa akoa.
Mary Jane Pagayon, Davao City bemedalled runner

(I'm extremely happy, Ma'am, because I'm one of those who will represent the country, a dream I've always cherished. Now the Lord has granted it to me)," said Pagayon, quadruple gold medalist at the Davraa Meet 2024.

Based on the DepEd memo, the Philippines will also compete in badminton, basketball, and pencak silat. MLSA

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