The distribution of various sports equipment from the Cebu Provincial Sports Commission (CSPC) was the highlight of an ordinary day in Mulao Elementary School in the Municipality of Compostela last January 6.
The journey of driving through a 10 km road away from the national highway to reach the school was fine, not until the team made a turn where the struggle of climbing the winding road outset.
Upon arriving, the student-athletes, teachers and parents welcomed the team and were thankful for the two tables for table tennis, tennis balls and rackets that they received.
The athlete added that their coach is strict during trainings,saying that “naa mi routine exercise before the practice, unya kung magsingabot na ang tournament dili na mi pwede mokaon og junk food ug moinom og softdrinks kay basin magkasakit mi (we have a routine exercise before practice and when the tournament date arrives we are not allowed to each junk food and drink softdrinks to avoid getting sick)”.
Nicodemo Ponce, principal of Mulao Elementary School who is also the head coach of the team, shared that the school specializes in table tennis.
“We have two student-athletes who both won gold at the provincial meet and will compete for the Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association meet this year,” she said.
Though Ponce is the principal and Dadula is now a high school student, she is still training with Ponce and sometimes helps the coach in training the new athletes.
Oliver Pataluna, an 8-year-old who started training last year, is the youngest member in their team. They have tried to send the 3rd grader in the provincial meet last year and clinched some wins but lost fuel in the eliminations.
At present, Ponce is looking for more young athletes to be trained for table tennis although the coach said they do not disregard other sports.
Training the student-athletes every day and not just when tournaments are forthcoming is the culture of the school, said Ponce.
Meanwhile, Batad Elementary School in San Remigio received various sports equipment for badminton, table tennis, volleyball, sepak takraw, and athletics.
The school’s head coach, Edmund Coming, who attended the provincial grassroots development program last year, initiated the idea with the local government unit of Batad to request some sports equipment for their school.
As a teacher in Batad, Coming was always assigned as the cook during district and provincial meet.
“Pag-una ako ang tig-luto, nadugay mangutana nako sa rules unya motan-aw sad ko sa mga games hangtud nga nakat-on ko (At first, I cooked for the athletes. Later on, they were asking me fore the rules since I also watch the games),” Coming said.
The coach shared that his strategy is to master a sport one at a time before teaching the students.
Coming said that aside from training the students physically, they also tried to boost their confidence.
“Attitude is very important,” Coming said.
“No matter how good the players are, if they get rattled in the game because of the crowd, they will perform differently. That’s why we tried to expose them to various tournaments.”
Batad Elementary School bested the other schools and was declared as the overall champion in three consecutive years during the athletic and municipal meet.
Barangay Captain Antonio Villamor promised that in the coming days, they will ask for more assistance and sports equipment but when that day comes, they will also bring their trophies and gold.
On the other hand, Tuburan National High School, Kansi Elementary School, and Asturias Central School also received sports equipment for volleyball, basketball, table tennis, and badminton.