SADLY, billards player Iris Ranola’s worst fears have come true.
The defending 9-ball gold medalist of the Southeast Asian Games is grieving over the death of his father, who passed away due to cancer in Zamboanga shortly after he arrival in Naypyitaw.
Ranola learned about the sad news on Thursday after a long flight from Manila to Naypitaw. It came a day before the start of the 9-ball competitions on Friday.
According to officials at the Athletes Village in Naypyitaw, Ranola is being counseled by sports psychologists led by Dr. Reynaldo Canlas. It is still unclear, however, as of posting time whether Ranola will be fit to compete in the SEA Games.
“It’s too soon to tell, because she’s still grieving,” said teammate and reigning world 10-ball champion Rubilen Amit, who will also be competing in the 9-ball event.
In an interview with Spin.ph during the athletes’ send-off party last month, Ranola related that she wasn’t supposed to compete in the 9-ball and 10-ball competitions of the SEA Games to take care of his father.
But it was his father who insisted that she compete in Myanmar.
“Dying po siya eh. Kaya pa-ganun-ganun ako,” said Ranola, referring to his back-and-forth flights from Manila to Zamboanga to be by his father's side.
“Nung umuwi ako last time, sabi ng mga doctor, he could go anytime. Natatakot po ako na what if nandoon ako (sa Myanmar), huwag naman sana,” Ranola said, teary-eyed as she related the story to Spin.ph.
Ranola later vowed to do her best to win the gold for his father.
“Pero sabi po niya, mag-compete pa rin ako. Positive pa rin ako na gagawin ko ang lahat na maging proud pa sa akin ‘yung father ko kahit for the last time niya.”
However, Ranola said she is unsure about her chances for a gold in the SEA Games due to his father’s condition.
“Kapag tinatanong nga po ako kung ready ako, lagi kong iniisip na ready ako pero sa totoo lang po, scared po ako,” Ranola said.