December 2006

While looking for pictures of Rizal Memorial, I chanced upon the following photos from Babisalva‘s Flickr account:

These were taken during the 2006 (UAAP 69) Men’s 110m high hurdles final. I was sidelined by a broken arm, leaving the rest of the Fab Four hurdlers (and last minute substitute, Charles Banez) to slug it out with the UAAP’s best.

Mike Mendoza was just a rookie then. Jotham Manlapaz was in his sophomore year. Lech Velsaco and I have been teammates for three years. In the months leading to UAAP 69, us four grew remarkably close. We tried our utmost best to train at the same time, synchronizing our schedules. We even had customary hurdler shots during various events!

We were bonding like a well-oiled 4x100m quartet. Indeed, we trained as a team, we pushed each other to the limits of physical endurance. We gave pointers and helped each other out while warming up. After the race, we gave high fives and whopped it up when someone achieves something notable. Deep down, each of us knew that once on the track, during those 14, 15 or 16 seconds of explosive hurdles action, it was every man for himself. Once the starting gun fires, it’s up to the athlete alone to clear those 10 barriers and reach the finish line as fast as humanly possible.Track & field, after all, is an individual event.

When I broke my arm in November 2006, it was Lech and Jots who brought me to the hospital.

It was an emotional moment, seeing my closest teammates qualify for the final. I strained my voice cheering for those guys from the bleachers.

As the race ended, Mike ran a then personal best of 15.15s, digging deep to win a silver medal in his rookie year. After trying out 10 events (from Long Jump to race walking), Lech finally found a track event that’s tailor-made for his aggressive style. Last but certainly not the least, my ever-so-faithful, God-fearing training buddy Jotham, completed the three-man Ateneo presence in the sprint hurdles final – an unprecedented feat in school history.

Despite being crushed by my inability to compete, seeing my friends occupy three of the eight lanes in the final heat did much to lift my sagging spirits.

Photo credits:

Babisalva’s Flickr

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4 responses to “December 2006

  1. pirieandrew July 16, 2010 at 12:28 PM

    Thanks for the link JB. Im viewing some of this guys photos. Who is Babislava?

  2. jot July 17, 2010 at 7:29 PM

    nice jobs. memories. seems just like yesterday. we REALLY gotta meet up soon. wag na natin hintayin ang valentines. tagal pa ulet yun! baka lampasan lang din naman natin na walang nangyari!

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