ROXAS CITY - For some cyclists, the LBC Ronda Pilipinas is a race to find fame and fortune.
But for unheralded Ronnilan Quita of LBC-MVP Sports Foundation, it's his way to get a second shot at completing his education.
“I stopped going to school after Grade Six because we're so poor. We don't have money even for food," said Quita, a 21-year-old native of San Jose, Tarlac, in Filipino right after an overachieving performance in the recently concluded Visayas Leg of the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2016.
"I hope that through Ronda, I will be given another chance to study and perhaps be just a welder so I can earn a permanent living for my family," he added.
Quita came out of nowhere and finished 11th overall in the Visayas Leg dominated by more heralded foes, headed by eventual winner Ronald Oranza of the powerhouse Navy-Standard Insurance team.
His biggest moment came in Stage Four in Roxas City where he gave the heavy favorites a run for their money and finished second behind 2009 Tour king Joel Calderon, also of Navy.
It was Quita's best performance since he made the Negros team that joined Ronda last year. And it could be his ticket to realizing his dreams.
His wish is set to be granted.
"We'll find a way to give him a scholarship after the elections because we in LBC Ronda Pilipinas love giving our riders a chance to succeed," said LBC Ronda project director and LBC Sports Development head Moe Chulani.
Quita is just the latest in a long line of beneficiaries of Ronda's efforts to give cyclists from far-flung areas a shot at making their dreams come true.
South Cotabato's James Paolo Ferfas and Ranlen Maglantay competed in the Mindanao Leg with poor bikes and equipment. They were given race gears like jerseys, shoes, socks, gloves and helmets and loaned competition bikes to help improve their performance.
When the race goes up North for the Luzon leg scheduled April 3-9, LBC Ronda organizers hope to discover more Maglantays, Ferfas and Quitas.
"That's our goal, to have more of them," said Chulani.