RIO DE JANEIRO — Jessie Khing Lacuna and Ian Lariba are very glad to represent the UAAP as they share the spotlight with seasoned athletes in the Philippine delegation to the Rio Olympics.
After ruling their respective fields in the UAAP, Lacuna and Lariba were named UAAP Season 78 co-athletes of the year with volleyball star Alyssa Valdez of Ateneo and softball player Queeny Sabobo of Adamson.
Lacuna, who will be competing in his second Olympics, said he was very happy a fellow UAAP athlete was able to make it to the Olympics.
“I was happy when I heard na nag-qualify siya (Lariba). She deserved it na lahat ng pinagtrabahuan niya, nag-payoff. I’m happy for her and for the table tennis community,” said Lacuna, who got the Athlete of the Year award after leading Ateneo to the UAAP title last season.
Lariba, chosen flag bearer for the Philippines in the opening ceremony in Rio, also holds Lacuna in high regard.
“Isa siya sa mga respectable athletes sa UAAP. Exciting din po and alam ko na mag-eenjoy kami dito lahat,” said Lariba.
Others in the team are weightlifters Hidilyn Diaz and Nestor Colonia, Marestella Torres-Sunang, Eric Cray and Mary Joy Tabal of athletics, taekwondo jin Kirstie Elaine Alora, swimmer Jasmine Alkhaldi and boxers Rogen Ladon and Charly Suarez.