Tag Archives: ateneo

Silver (February 2006)

Here’s something I wrote shortly after winning my first UAAP Senior medal back in February 2006.

Finally. Got a silver this afternoon in the hurdles. I topped the overall list of qualifiers (15.85) but sadly, finished 2nd in the final heat. Damn. I was 0.03s away from the gold (Orlando Soriano – 15.72. I clocked 15.75s).

To add insult to injury, I celebrated too early by raising my arms half a meter before the finish line (Note: I actually rose from my dive too early. I did not celebrate early!).

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Too early!

That cost me the race since I wasn’t able to outlean the gold medallist, whom I edged out in the same qualifying heat.

Nevertheless, this feels great. How badly I had missed finishing at the top echelons of the field. The cheers of my teammates were incomparable treasures. Seeing them happy because of what I had achieved made this victory a hundred times more sweet.

The Men’s team had a splendid first day, with 3 silver medals (Bryan – 100m dash, John Gregorio – Javelin Throw). In addition, Nina finished second in the 100m hurdles. Three more days to go. The team has to maintain this momentum in order to achieve a podium finish.

Some Photos:

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110m Hurdles Heats.

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110m Hurdles Heats Results.

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Before the start of the 110m Hurdles Final.

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“Blue Eagle, The King”

I can still remember my first ever Big Blue Eagle Cheer Rally back in 1999. I was a high school freshman, a product of a small, tight-knit learning institution in Don Antonio Heights. Unlike most of my classmates who came from the Ateneo Grade School, I stood out like a sore thumb. I had a hard time taking in all the foreign notions of Ateneo Spirit. The cheers, in particular, were unintelligible jibberish I found difficult to appreciate.

Click this link to read the full article…

Back to the Podium (9 February 2006)

While scouring my old Livejournal for a school paper I wrote years ago, I came across the following post. I wrote it hours after winning my first UAAP medals in the seniors division! More than six year had passed since that moment. I can still feel the sheer adrenaline rush of that day. It’s a pity that we didn’t have fancy DSLR cameras or high-res videos back then. 

At least I was able to express the emotions that I felt through prose.

Finally. Got a silver this afternoon in the hurdles. I topped the overall list of qualifiers (15.88) but sadly, finished 2nd in the final heat. Damn. I was 0.03s away from the gold. To add insult to injury, I celebrated too early by raising my arms half a meter before the finish line. That cost me the race since I wasn’t able to outlean the gold medallist, whom I edged out in the same qualifying heat.

Nevertheless, this feels great. How badly I had missed finishing at the top echelons of the field. The cheers of my teammates were incomparable treasures. Seeing them happy because of what I had achieved made this victory a hundred times more sweet.

Ateneo High School Track & Field UAAP 64 and 65 Championship Plaques

My friend Ralph Aligada posted a photo of the Ateneo High School Track & Field Team’s UAAP 64 and 65 Championship Plaques! It’s the first time I’ve ever seen this and I was truly surprised. Before Ralph’s unexpected Facebook post, I was unaware of its existence!

Read “The Kings of the Track: UAAP 65 Juniors Champions”

 

Photos from Ralph Aligada

It’s surreal to think that almost a decade has passed since we won those junior titles. Since those days were devoid of social media, our videos and photos were at a bare minimum.

Nevertheless, it’s good to know that somewhere in the hallowed halls of the Alma Mater, our humble feats are remembered.

ABL Game 6: Losing Streak

The team has adjusted relatively well to the absence of its former UAAP juniors stars.  Despite the missing Yayo Puno, our front line held through against the tall trees of Team Sabino. The entire game was a fierce battle of attrition. Team Sabino, who missed the services of its own former varsity players as well, held the upper hand throughout most of the game.

Even if we defended quite well, the team had problems with offense. Ryan Agas and Merrill Lazo are vital cogs to the offensive rotation. Those missing guys sapped a big chunk of our firepower. Nevertheless, Paolo Rosales had a monster scoring game, notching 20 points in 42.1% field goal shooting. The fast break plays, with Rosales as the pincer, kept our collective heads above water in the game’s most crucial phases. Ros’ partner in crime, the streak shooting Adi Dimaliwat added 12 points, all scored from the beyond the arc.

Although we led at some point in the third quarter, the “W” eluded our undermanned squad. When the final buzzer sounded, we were behind by a measly 2 points, 50-52.

With this loss, the team fell to 2-4 – the second worst record in the 5-team division. This weekend’s back-to-back games, missing players notwithstanding, are crucial in our bid to reach the semifinals.

Click here to view the game stats (from the ABL website)

Jots (6 February 2009)

Culled from my old Multiply account. View the original post here.

Missing the 1st day of the UAAP was out of the question. Even if I did not have leave credits yet, I bravely asked my new boss for permission to leave work early, just to watch my old teammates compete. The 1st day harvest was bountiful, with the team bagging 3 golds, a silver and a bronze medal.

It was refreshingly nostalgic to see my old training buddies, Jotham Manlapaz and Mike Mendoza, in action again. Jots has improved a lot. He starts a lot faster and he snaps his lead leg quicker than the last time I saw him. Mike was his usual cool self: composed yet intense.

Seeing the other hurdlers run, it was obvious that Mike was in a league of his own. His form was just too fluid and his speed too overwhelming for his competitors. Mike was my hands down choice for this year’s gold.

But of course, my two sets of eyes were focused on Jots – my friend and former training partner. Amongst our hurdling group, I felt the closest to the big guy (literally, since I always hitched with him going home!). He was the closest I had to a protege. His faith in my hurdling and my qualities as an athlete was heartwarming. And the respect was mutual. Amidst my then volatile temperament, I looked up to my God-fearing training buddy’s calm demeanor and firm Faith. When he broke the 16-second barrier months before the UAAP, I felt ecstatic. I wanted him to win a medal, to go out with a bang.

But fate it seems, had other plans.

My friend clipped the 3rd hurdle with his trail leg, and fell badly on the track. He was out of the race. I could almost feel his pain and disappointment when I saw him lying face down on the orange track. If life really did have a rewind button, I would’ve clicked it in an attempt to reverse the day’s tragic outcome.

For the next 10 or so seconds of the race, I did not know where to look. On one side of the track, Mike was pulling away from the field. On the other, Jots was immobile. As I saw Mike raise his arms at the finish line, I immediately went to the bleachers near the 30m mark to have a closer look at things.

To my relief, both of Jots’ limbs were intact. Thank heavens, he didn’t fracture any bone (he had torn his hip flexor or some other hip muscle). But the moment he tried to stood up, I heard a scream of pain. It was obvious that my friend’s last UAAP had ended prematurely.

Photo from Karla Lim

It broke my heart seeing him lying on the track in pain and in tears. Why did it have to happen to him of all people? Then again, injuries are a part of sport. That’s just the way things go when you’re an athlete.

To be honest, I didn’t know what to say once I finally made my way to the track. I know for a fact that no words could possibly soothe the frustration that he was feeling. That battle is an inner struggle one has to face – alone.

We visited Jots at the hospital the evening after the accident. He was his usual bubbly self, albeit with a faint trace of gloom. He dealt with the abrupt and unwanted ending not with anger, but with faith. “Our job thereafter is to make sense of what happened and to learn, move on, and be someone better,” said Jotham. “Everything is planned out by Him above.”

Amidst the obvious physical and emotional pain, I’ve never seen a happier, more content man.

Digging Deep

I felt tense watching from the stands. Perhaps it was due to the cold early evening air or the glare of the floodlights. Sheltered from the steadily falling rain by my trusty umbrella, I waited for the men’s 4x400m relay to start.

The grueling event has been the waterloo of Ateneo athletics. Ever since the Ateneo joined the UAAP, it has only won two bronzes – in the mid-80’s and the mid-2000’s – amidst a slew of heartbreaking close shaves with the podium. Despite the resurgence in Ateneo sprinting, the other schools stamped its dominance in the quarter-mile.

Read John Aguilar’s “The Blue Paint”

Maki de Jesus, a bemedalled former juniors standout, had a gutsy start. Running in the seventh lane, the rookie overtook the athlete in lane eight by a good five meters, as the first runner from powerhouse FEU streaked to an early lead. From then on, it was a battle for second place behind the dominant Morayta quartet.

The first baton exchange was executed with fine precision. Joel Magturo, another greenhorn, timed his take-off perfectly with the visibly exhausted de Jesus. The young Joel, a finalist in the 100m dash, held on to fourth place. Three schools – DLSU, UE, UST and Ateneo – were locked in a fierce tactical battle.

Carlos Soriano ran a gutsy third leg. He positioned himself well in the first 200m, conserving precious speed and strength by lurking behind the leading sprinters. As soon as the four-man peleton hit the last bend, Soriano turned on his afterburners. The back-to-back 100m dash champion overtook the early leaders to snatch second place coming into the final lap.

I screamed like a man possessed at Soy’s final burst of speed. Never has an Ateneo team won silver in the 4x400m relay. There and then, I felt my eyes blur as I cheered my lungs out.

Then came JP Azcueta’s anchor leg. From the stands, I saw the determined expression on his face. He took off life a bullet, maintaining the team’s second place position. Coming into the homestretch, I could feel the silver medal coming into fruition.

The dream silver wasn’t meant to be.

DLSU’s Patrick Unso, a bum stomach notwithstanding, ran a superb final 50m to snatch second place. UE’s last runner came hurtling towards the finish, threatening to overtake the decelerating Azcueta. But JP clung on to Ateneo’s first 4x400m medal in six years. After missing out on the 4x100m relay podium; Maki, Joel, Soy and JP struck back with a hard fought, well-deserved bronze. It was an exhilarating race – a scintillating, nerve-wracking experience for the spectator and an unforgettable experience to those who were victorious.

As soon as the JP crossed the finish line, he fell on his knees, burying his face in his hands. In the four days that I’ve watched my former teammate compete, he always seemed to linger at that very spot after every race. This time around, there wasn’t a single trace of disappointment on the grizzled veteran’s rain-soaked face. Instead, JP cried tears of joy, as he took in the wondrously triumphant moment.

There’s a line from “Chariots of Fire” aptly describing the quarter-miler as someone who digs deep. Those four young men ran their hearts out, mustering every strand of willpower possible. Years from now, people probably won’t remember who won the medals, much less the actual results. In the long run, what endures is the experience of giving it your all and leaving everything on the playing field.

Maki, JP, Joel and Soy posing with their medals (Photo from JP Azcueta)

ABL 2012 Game 3: Free Pass

The team came half an hour early, in anticipation of heavy traffic arising from the high school fair. With the game scheduled for 7PM, we assembled the core of the team a good 20 minutes before tip-off time. This was a far cry from the first game, when we ate up the 10 minute time-out allotment waiting to complete five players. Save for a couple of missing faces, most of the guys in the lineup were present. Even old reliable Choi Esguerra, who lost played for the class way back in high school, was there!

However, traffic woes saw the opposing team lose the game by default. No one wants to win (or lose) a game by default. But then again, rules are rules.  We were pitted against the joint league leaders, AHS 4J 2003, and were expecting a protracted battle with our athletic foes. Despite our willingness to wait it out, a strict schedule has to be followed. Nevertheless, a win is still a win, as the cliche goes.

When the grace period ran out, we decided to play a pick-up game instead to take advantage of the free hard court. Despite the informal setting, the players weren’t lacking in intensity. We were all frustrated at missing out on an ABL game; hence, we played hoops with [not-so-youthful] abandon. Despite the pressure-free environment, both squads came out with guns blazing.

We’ve always had trouble rotating the ball and running motion plays, relying on our streak shooting guards, lung-busting fast break plays and individual skill to score valuable points. The team had last many games with this type of play, falling pray to taller foes and more organized systems. As always, Merrill was a rock on both defense and offense. The return of Ryan from a one-game hiatus made for a more efficient play. Despite the presence of our two main men, the team lost to our undermanned opponents.

We were pummeled underneath by the magnificent post plays of RJ Jacinto, while the shifty MJ Torrado wreaked havoc on the open court. And yet, one can draw positives from the losing experience, wounded pride notwithstanding. At least it wasn’t an official ABL game. Moreover, it was a good opportunity to for the team to be more cohesive. It’s better to make mistakes on the practice court than in actual game! As the cliche goes, we learn more from losing than from winning.

The team might have gotten a free pass, but the road ahead is going to get a lot tougher.

Thinking Things Over (21 January 2012)

I was supposed to train in Ultra last Saturday, but it turned out that the entire venue was unable for public use the entire day. Not wanting to let the day go to waste, I went to Moro to do some sprints. It was a fortuitous turn of events as my former team was also training in the same venue.

It was a welcome sight to see familiar faces (although this number is steadily dwindling). I had a good chat with Coach Igor Quodala prior to starting my workout. The University track & field grassroots program has grown by leaps and bounds, apparently. Since I had an ABL game scheduled the next day, I opted for a light workout. I did a few reps of hurdle walkovers, the first time I worked over the hurdles in 2012.

I’ve been hounded yet again by thoughts of retirement the past few months. Under the circumstances, I just could not see the point of pursuing my far-flung athletics dreams. In a sense, I was in limbo. One part of me wants to keep the dream alive while the other yearns for something bigger than hurdling. Nevertheless, hanging up my spikes is out of the question. The past couple of years has been enlightening, reinforcing the fact that the good old athletics training routine is an excellent way to get fit – competitive aspirations aside.

But then again, the scheme of things tend to nudge one’s decisions to a particular direction.

During the rest phase of my 4x60m sprinting workout, my former college coach remarked “Jobs, puwede pa (You still have it).” For someone who trains alone and struggles to mix and match what scant athletics knowledge, this was a heartwarming compliment. Come to think of it, I’ve put so much work in this season’s GPP. At least I’ve seemed to regain some measure of my old strength.

For the nth time, let me say that I’m not retiring yet. As for the question of hurdling, I still have time to think things over.

ABL 2012 Game 2: Falling Short

It was good to be back at the Blue Eagle Gym again. This was AHS 4D 2003’s first game at the decades old stadium since the last match of the ill-fated Season 2010. Since it was a Sunday night, the gym was almost deserted, save for a few basketball diehards and some early birds. It was an ominous return to such a storied venue.

For the first two quarters, the team seemed to match up with the bigger lineup of Team Sabino quite well. The daredevil drives of Paolo Rosales (5 points, 6 rebounds) and Merrill Lazo’s (20 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists) dagger treys kept the opposing team’s lead to a manageable five points in some stretches. Adi Dimaliwat (made a couple of three-point baskets in the most opportune of times. Yayo Puno and Velden Lim returned from a one-game absence to man the front-line with their athleticism, hustle and game smarts.

The team, despite the absence of main man Ryan Agas, even grabbed the lead in the first half.

Things started to crumble in the third quarter, as a foul-troubled Merrill was forced to ride the bench for a few minutes. All of a sudden, there was a gaping hole in the middle. The fired-up 6’4 behemoth Johann Uichico took advantage of Merrill’s temporary absence, wreaking havoc with his accurate short stabs and numerous drives. At the start of the fourth quarter, the opposing team’s lead had ballooned to as large as eight points.

Midway into the last period, our error prone team squandered golden chances to narrow the deficit. We were unable to run consistent plays and missed supposedly easy point blank shots. The imposing front line of Team Sabino exacerbated our offensive woes, as the opposing team grabbed a massive 54 rebounds against AHS 4D 2003’s measly 42. Despite making more three-pointers and notching a 78.4% field goal percentage, the team faltered in the end game.

There was one seemingly infinite stretch when we couldn’t seem to force the ball out of Team Sabino’s possession. For two long minutes, the ball stayed at the wrong side of the court, as our opponents grabbed offensive rebounds at will.

Despite a last ditch gasp to trim the deficit, the final buzzer sounded with the team behind by a heartbreaking five points, 48-53.

AHS 2003 Week 3 Stats (from the ABL site)

Fresh Air! (18 January 2012)

In the past two weeks, Moro has been devoid of its usual denizens. At night, when I usually train, the badminton and basketball courts seemed like eerie graveyards. The cavernous expanse of the indoor gym was dimly lit. Aside from a handful of PT patients, employees and the ever so diligent jogger/former Ateneo President Fr. Ben Nebres, Moro was practically deserted.

Hence, I kept the training sessions mercifully short. I could not last more than an hour and a half in those circumstances anyway! The speed endurance routine I’ve been doing left little room for boredom. Somehow, all the panting and lactic acid had blocked off the monotony.

Thankfully, I trained with a former high school teammate a couple of days back. It was refreshing to actually talk to someone real for a change. I’ve had enough quality time with my imaginary training buddies! Having a friend nearby takes a lot of the weight off my back. I’ve been training alone for so long that I’ve almost forgotten how it feels to have teammates.

Then it hit me. I know quite a lot of people, former track athletes at that, willing to hit the track to stay in shape or compete again. I am not that alone after all. Who knows? Maybe in a few months’ time, an informal club could take root.

The Blue Oval

For us alumni track athletes, an honest-to-goodness synthetic track oval was a far-flung dream. There have been talk of converting the high school’s grass track to an all-weather surface, but it obviously didn’t push through. Considering the Ateneo’s sprawling campus (and the deep pockets of its influential alumni), I’ve often wondered why my alma mater lagged behind the likes of La Salle Greenhills and a couple of international schools.

Almost four years since I last donned the Blue and White, the dream of having a synthetic track is gradually coming into fruition. According to the Guidon, the project is being financed by the Lorenzo family, heirs of the great Ateneo sportsman, Luis “Moro” Lorenzo. The track will be blue, a fitting tribute to the school’s patroness, Mother Mary. The eight-lane, IAAF-certified track and the world-class football pitch will rise on the historic Erenchun Field, named after the Ted Erenchun, the father of Ateneo football.

Click here to read “The Moro Lorenzo field in the works”

During yesterday’s afternoon’s ABL meeting at the Blue Eagle Gym, I noticed markers designating the soon-to-be-completed athletics track. Even if I have long sinced ceased competing for school, I can hardly hide my excitement!

The powers-that-be couldn’t have chosen a better spot. Back in the sixties, the field was circumscribed by a cinder track. Ateneo athletics greats like the late Jorge Ledesma and Boogie Pamintuan trained there. Mildewed Guidon issues from the olden days depict track & field competitions held on school grounds. However,  the Erenchun track was forgotten with the completion of the high school track.

Decades later, traces of old running oval still abound. Before the construction work began, the first bend was still quite visible. In summertime, one can walk around Erenchun Field and notice the weather-beaten markers of the running track itself.

Rebound Ball Video

To better understand the Ateneo High School P.E. Department’s new sport, here’s a video from Mr. Paul Daza:

Rebound Ball (by Ed Sediego)

My high school athletics coach, Ed Sediego, writes a guest post about the innovative game of Rebound Ball.

Rebound ball is an indoor team sport formulated in the Philippines in May 2011 by a Filipino gym teacher and athletics coach Edward F. Sediego  who believed that the objective of all physical activities is to instill on the individual to have a healthy living lifestyle and to make contribution to building a nation of healthy well being. His aim was to develop a team sport which involves the coordination with his teammate and organizing a team play that will lead to team building hence producing a nation of healthy and active citizens.

The sport is usually played on an indoor court measuring 26 meters by 14 meters. At each end there is circular rebound board from which the ball bounces, which measures 35 centimeters in radius, 70 centimeters in diameter and placed 35 centimeters from the bottom of circular board to the floor and a semicircular “D” shaped restricted zone measuring 3.50 meters in radius. Each team can score on both ends of the goal and comprises twelve players, of which 5 may be on the court at any one time. In order to score a point, the ball must be thrown by an attacking player, hit the board and bounces outside the restricted zone without being caught by the defending team. Physical contact is allowed but  with restrictions, a foul may be called upon the decision of the official. Interception is allowed during the game. Players are not allowed to take initial steps during passes, only the attacking player is allowed to take 3 steps. Teams are not allowed to pass the ball more than 4  times.

Read more of this post

Adjustments 2.0 (14 August 2011)

I breezed through the Trust test (might have flunked it) so I left Makati a bit early, just in time to catch the last events of the PATAFA Weekly Relays in Ultra. It was good to see familiar faces like Coach Ed, the Obienas and the PPVC crew again. To save time, I planned on having a hardcore midday training session.

Thankfully, I misread the schedule board of the venue. I thought that the Rugby games would be held in two weeks’ time, as I fail to decipher message of the info board! It turned out that right after the PATAFA event, the entire stadium is exclusively reserved for the Rugby folks. I was able to sneak in some running drills and plyometric hurdle drills under the harsh sun. It was half past twelve when I finished, thirty minutes into the supposedly exclusive schedule. I’d have to thank the PRFU for allowing me to intrude!

By the time I finished, I was sunburned. I wasn’t overly exhausted from the heat, which is a good sign, considering that I almost always train at night. Such conditions are excellent preparation for future competition days that are less than ideal.

After a quick lunch, I headed straight home to rest. I went to the good ole Ateneo campus to do some uphill sprints. I capped the two-pronged training session with a bad-ass, lung-busting routine up the good ole uphill route of yore.

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