Collegiate, national team coaches converge in Vigan in search of fresh talent
Coach Air Padda of the Adamson women's volleyball team (clockwise), Yong Garcia of the CEU basketball team, running coach Rio de la Cruz, Adamson softball coach Ana Santiago and NU Lady Bulldogs mentor Pat Aquino have been spotted at the Palaro. 

VIGAN, Ilocos Sur — Scouts from top collegiate leagues and even national coaches have been everywhere in this city for the 2018 Palarong Pambansa.

SPIN.ph spotted several coaches and athletic directors from different college and universities to officials and national team coaches of national sports associations, not just at the venues but also at Calle Crisologo on Wednesday night for some respite.

In basketball and volleyball, top coaches from the UAAP and NCAA including the UP Lady Maroons' Gody Okumu and Adamson Lady Falcons' Air Padda were seen watching the matches in towns outside Vigan.

Centro Escolar University seniors basketball coach Yong Garcia, Far Eastern University juniors basketball coach Allan Albano, and Ateneo women’s basketball coach John Flores added to the list of coaches who are here for the Palarong Pambansa.

Also spotted were Blackwater owner and longtime Philippine women's team patron Dioceldo Sy as well as University of Santo Tomas women's basketball coach Haydee Ong.

Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association official Edward Kho and national team coach Arniel Ferrera have been spotted approaching medal winners in the Palaro for its talent identification system.

Renowned running coach and race organizer Rio Dela Cruz and College of Saint Benilde athletic director and former taekwondo Olympian Stephen Fernandez are also at the games.

Even National University women’s basketball team coach Patrick Aquino and Adamson softball coach Ana Santiago are here to check on potential recruits, looking to boost their already dominant squads.

One coach told SPIN.ph they grabbed the opportunity to come here due to its proximity to Manila. This Northern capital can be reached by land travel, unlike previous versions of the Palaro held either in Visayas or Mindanao.

“Malapit kasi sa Manila,” said one coach.

More than 15,000 delegates from all 17 regions were expected to come here for the Palarong Pambansa, and the number has definitely ballooned.

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