Filipina Everest climber, 3 others banner PH team to Under Armour's 'Test of Will' challenge
The Philippine team of Noelle Wenceslao, Derrick Carlo Mercado, Merwin Torres, and Zoe Pond-McPherson (not in photo) face 12 other competitors in Under Armour's 'Test of Will' challenge. Jaime Campos 

NATIONAL dragonboat team member Noelle Wenceslao leads three other CrossFit enthusiasts in representing the country for the 'Test of Will' finals set two weeks from now at the extravagant Gardens by the Bay in Singapore.

The 37-year-old Wenceslao, one of the first three Filipinas who reached the summit of Mt. Everest in 2008, will be joined in the team by Derrick Carlo Mercado, Zoe Pond-McPherson, and Merwin Torres as they lead Team Philippines in competing against representatives from Malaysia, Thailand, and the host country in the inaugural Southeast Asia-wide fitness challenge presented by Under Armour.

The four emerged as the top two bets in their respective divisions during the local phase of the meet held at the Bonifacio High Street in Taguig from April 16 to 17.

A member of the national dragonboat team, Wenceslao emerged the best out of 301 participants after doing 243 total reps. She was followed by Pond-McPherson, the so-called ‘Fittest Woman in Philippine CrossFit’, who accomplished 213 reps.

Mercado, an architecture graduate, triumphed in the male category with 164 reps, while Torres, a medical technologist, came in at second with 151 reps.

Wenceslao, Mercado, and Torres appeared in the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at Shakey’s Malate on Tuesday, where they were presented by Tin Majadillas, managing director of One of a Kind Marketing, Under Armour Sports Southeast Asia, Lead Marketing Arm for Philippines, and Under Armour Southeast Asia brand athlete Asi Taulava.

Majadillas said this early, Wenceslao and Mercado are fancied to top the meet being the leading athletes with the most number of reps completed based on the official tally of the four Test of Will national heats.

Still, the competition may be tougher than expected.

“The exercises that they will do are different from the ones they did here in Manila,” said Majadillas in the public sports program presented by San Miguel Corp., Accel, Shakey’s, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. “It will be a surprise for them.”

All 16 bets will go head-to-head inside the highly-touted structure known as ‘The Tower,’ which contains different fitness zones with calisthenic exercises.

Wenceslao, who does technical alpine mountaineering, open water diving, and trekking, admitted it’s the first time she will be competing outside of the country but not as part of the dragonboat team.

But she remains confident the Philippine bets will do good against 12 other competitors from three different countries.

“No matter what the odds are, wala namang imposible,” she said.

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During the forum, Majadillas and Taulava, the veteran center of NLEX, also formalized the signing of contract making the former PBA MVP the new ambassador of Under Armour in the region.

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