Baguio City girls team shrugs off heartbreak in Batang Pinoy, calls for more support to arnis
Baguio's bets in the girls 13-17 arnis event held their heads high after missing out on a medal in Batang Pinoy. Jan Ballesteros

TAGUM City, Davao - Sitting awkwardly on a corner near the mats, Christine Bartolome covered her face with her hands as she tried to hold back her tears after her Baguio City team inexplicably fell out of medal contention in the arnis’ girls 13-17 sword and dagger event of the 2016 Batang Pinoy at the NCCC Mall here on Wednesday.

Bartolome and her team composed of Angeline Datuin and Shana Longan thought they were executing a fluid routine in the battle for silver and bronze medals, until one official raised the red and white flags that signaled a violation that came with a costly deduction and the team missed a podium finish. 

"Wala naman pong nagkamali sa amin pero bigla kaming nataasan ng flag. May minus (sa points)," said the 13-year-old Bartolome. 

Despite the setback, they remained proud of what they accomplished in the annual tournament organized by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).  

"OK lang po, alam naman ni Lord na binigay namin best namin," said Datuin.  

The three, who wore Baguio's cultural top piece during their "anyo" or form performance, had only one wish after the competition.  

"Sana po yung arnis po bigyan pa nila ng pansin dahil national sport natin yun," the 14-year-old Datuin said.

"Kapag naglaro po kayong arnis, masaya sya sa feeling kasi ito po ang national sport natin. Hindi basketball. Yung mga basketball (teams) pa po yung nakakalabas ng bansa tapos yun sariling atin (na sport) hindi," she added. 

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