Dabawenyos to give best in Eaga Games

LABUAN, Malaysia -- The country's flag was inverted, red on top of the blue stripe, in most of the 8th BIMP Eaga Friendship Games streamers here but it was immediately remedied by the apologetic hosts on Friday.

Davao City-bannered Team Mindanao, however, is declaring a different war as its athletes and coaches go all out when most of the games go full blast on Sunday in different venues here.

University of Mindanao (UM) Harrish Ratag-coached athletics team is leaning on be-medaled Sonny Wagdos who recently emerged men's 21K champion in the 38th National Milo Marathon Davao leg on the heels of sweeping three gold medals in the 19th National University Games in Iloilo City.

"Sure ko mag gold si Wagdos. Mudagan sya sa 1,500 ug 5,000 meters (I'm certain Wagdos will win gold)," Ratag said in an interview with Sun.Star Davao at the Victoria Hotel lobby.

Wagdos, however, just laughed off the bold prediction, saying, "Ma pressure man sab ta ana coach. Himuon lang nako akong tanan sa akong dagan (I feel the pressure coach. I'll just give my best in the run)."

Ratag cancelled their early morning training at the Labuan Sports Complex due to rain showers. They were set to push through with the training as of pres stime.

Ratag said, "Kailangan man gud nila ma-familiarize ang venue, especially ang ilang daganan (They have to familiarize the venue, especially the track)."

The team is also composed of Michelle Pandian, Mary Grace Lomigo, Jollymae Gabaisen, Glein Payac, Joppe Sabitan and Ralph Glenn Panes.

UM trackster Panes, who hails from Kapatagan in Digos City, said, "Expected jud nga magmedal mi (We really expect to win medals)."

The men's and women's beach volleyball teams, under Abet Bernan, played tune-up games against Papua squads at the Palm Beach Resort and Spa Friday morning during a routine inspection by Davao City officials Luz Imsave Obial and Tisha Goldie Delvo who are representing Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte and his executive assistant Christopher "Bong" Go in the biennial Games.

"Malalakas at magagaling ang Papua, may six-footer sila na player sa men's. Kumpyansa ako sa mga bata natin, gagawin nila ang lahat sa tournament," Bernan said in a separate interview.

Meanwhile, Far Eastern University shuttlers Klowe Garcia and Irish Queen Molina, as well as De La Salle University-Manila's Macy Anne Patricia Salvado, all playing in an international event for the first time, are feeling the nerves this early even if their games will yet start on Sunday.

Eighteen-year-old Garcia, a Marketing management sophomore, said in the vernacular, "There's pressure because we are expected to win but that motivates me to even give my best more."

Molina, 18, a Business Administration freshman, said, "Excited and nervous. This is another experience, an opportunity to exceed expectations."

Talomo National High School's Marinel Diansay, said, "Dapat magkamedal ako."

Salvado, an ISC-BSA student, was quick to reply, "Excited ako. Expectation ko? Mag champion (laughs)."

Badminton coach Jethra Villanueva Diaz said most of the city's players are Palarong Pambansa veterans, thus, they have the experience to give their rivals a stiff competition.

"Inaasahan naming maging malakas ang Malaysian teams lalo na ang Sabah," Diaz added.

Basketball head coach Flordelito "Dodong" Cagampang, whose team plays Sabah at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the Labuan Corporation Multi-purpose Hall, said in the vernacular, "We are ready to face whoever we are pitted against. We will execute a running game to compensate our lack of height."


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