Where are they now?

Where are they now?

Revisiting former Davraa, Palarong Pambansa champions

The Davao Region Athletic Association (Davraa) has a rich history of producing national and international champions, including notable athletes like Rio Olympian boxer Charly Suarez and multiple Southeast Asian (SEA) soft tennis gold medalist Mark Anthony Alcoseba.

Suarez, a 35-year-old professional boxer from San Isidro, Sawata, Davao del Norte, began his athletic journey in sepak takraw, earning a bronze in 2000 before transitioning to boxing. He dominated the Davraa meets, securing three consecutive gold medals from 2002 to 2004, and later excelled at the Palarong Pambansa. Throughout his career, Suarez brought home numerous medals, including three SEA Games golds and a silver in the Asian Games.

Recalling his humble beginnings, Suarez, the IBO World Title Eliminator champion, shared, "I'll never forget when I was young, traveling from Sawata to Asunción, Tagum, and Davao City just for training. I had to excuse myself from school, telling my teacher and principal about my training since we didn't have a coach in our area. It was my father who taught me." 

He fondly recalled the camaraderie with fellow athletes from various cities and provinces in the region during Palarong Pambansa competitions, finding the experience enjoyable.

Suarez, with an impressive undefeated record of 16-0, including nine knockouts, emphasized,

"Your mind can drive you to train. Your body can generate power. But true championship comes from faith in the Lord."

Charly Suarez, Rio Olympian boxer from Davao del Norte

On the other hand, 37-year-old Alcoseba, an enlisted personnel of the Philippine Army and a national soft tennis athlete, also made his mark in the sporting arena. Competing in the Davraa Meet in 2005, he went on to secure a doubles tennis silver in the Palaro that same year. 

Throughout his career, Alcoseba remained a consistent gold medalist in the National Prisaa Games and played a pivotal role in the success of the Philippine soft tennis team, contributing to gold medals in various international competitions.

Reflecting on his experiences, he said in the vernacular, "It's nice to recall the past and compete in the regional meet and represent Davao City, especially when you train together and help each other in achieving goals."

Jenni Celine Dizon, 25, from Davao City, currently a licensed psychometrician working at Davao City Water District, had remarkable achievements as a varsity scholar at De La Salle University. She secured gold in the 2012 BIMP-Eaga Games and 2014 Uni-Games.

My Davraa highlight was maintaining an undefeated record, while my most memorable Palarong Pambansa moments include winning gold in the team event during my first Palaro in 2009 when I was in grade 5 and my last Palaro in 2014 during my senior year where we also got the gold medal in the team event.
Jenni Celine Dizon, Palarong Pambansa and Davraa Meet multiple tennis gold medalist from Davao City

Jasper Rex Lim, 20, also from Davao City and currently a college student based in London, contributed significantly to the success of the Davraa elementary football team, clinching three consecutive championships as well as another title as a secondary player.

Winning the Palarong Pambansa 2016 in Albay was the most memorable experience for me.
Jasper Rex Lim, Palarong Pambansa football gold medal performer from Davao City

Arena grand master (AGM) and woman national master (WNM) Rowelyn Joy Acedo, 28, hailing from Davao City and currently a full-time chess coach based in Dubai, boasts three Davraa golds and two Palaro golds to her name. She was a prominent member of the DLSU chess varsity team, clinching numerous gold medals. She recently bagged the championship of the 5th Fujairah Endurance Blitz Tournament (below 2000) at the Novotel Hotel in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates.

"As an athlete, my life would not be complete without my Davraa and Palarong Pambansa days. Those were the days when we stayed back in school for training, and it was comforting to meet new friends who shared the same passion and goals as me. Above all, winning the championship title in the Palarong Pambansa in Dapitan in 2011 is my proudest moment."
Rowelyn Joy Acedo, Palarong Pambansa and Davraa Meet multiple chess gold medalist

Ralph Kevin Barte, 35, a native of Davao City and currently a tennis coach in Singapore, secured a tennis doubles gold in both the Davraa Meet and Palaro back in 2002. He also earned recognition as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the UAAP in 2011 while playing as a varsity scholar for the University of Santo Tomas.

One of my most memorable experiences was when we slept in school, and every morning at 5 am, we had to wake up for exercise and practice. Especially rewarding was winning the gold medal in the team event in both Davraa and Palaro.
Ralph Kevin Barte - Palarong Pambansa and Davraa Meet tennis doubles gold medalist

Related Stories

No stories found.
SunStar Publishing Inc.
www.sunstar.com.ph