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    Zamboanga Valientes prove diversity not a hindrance for teamwork

    Feb 3, 2019
    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto

    TERROR enveloped Jolo weeks ago when a despicable terrorist bombing rocked the Sulu capital, claiming the lives of 22 people.

    Disheartening as the incident was, it only serves as motivation for the Zamboanga Valientes to lift the spirits of their provincemantes as the lone Mindanao representative in the upcoming Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas 3x3 President's Cup.

    "We're dedicating this to the victims of the Jolo bombing. We're praying na sana magkaron na ng kapayapaan," said team owner Junnie Navarro.

    The incident hits close to home for Das Esa, a local of Jolo who will be part of the Valientes in this inaugural 3x3 competition.

    But the Valientes know in their hearts that the Jolo bombing isn't really about religious differences, but rather plainly a mere act of terror.

    Zamboanga's best players Esa and Jonathan Parreno harmoniously coexist even though they are of different religions, with Esa being a Muslim and Parreno a Christian.

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    "Isa yung Zamboanga Valientes na nagpapakita na Christians and Muslims can unite," said Navarro. "Muslim si Esa, Christian si Parreno, pero we're one. Dyan mo nakikita na talagang nagkakaisa kami as Christian and Muslims."

    Given the platform to show that Mindanaoans of different faith can be as one, the Valientes are motivated to make their peers proud as they prove that they belong with some of the best the country has to offer.

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    "It's an honor lalo na we're the only team from Mindanao," said Navarro. "Sa mga fans ng Zamboanga Valientes, we're back."

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    PHOTO: Marlo Cueto
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