FIVE national athletes bound for the 29th Southeast Asian Games vowed to do their best not just in representing the country but also in honoring their school, College of Saint Benilde, in their performance in the regional competition on August 19 to 30 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Taekwondo jin and Rio Olympian Kirstie Elaine Alora said in a roundtable interview on Friday at the Andrew Café in the DLS-CSB Campus in Taft, that she will once again try to bring home the gold for the country after winning three gold medals in previous SEA Games.
Alora will compete in the under-73 kilogram women’s category and will also be the flag-bearer of the Philippines in the SEA Games this August.
Three-time NCAA men’s table tennis MVP Ryan Jacolo will also compete in the doubles event and team event in his second time to represent the country in the SEA Games. On the other hand, NCAA Season 92 MVP and best opposite spiker John Vic De Guzman leads the men’s national volleyball team in also his second SEAG stint, but this time as the team captain.
Both student-athletes agree on how CSB molded them to balance their studies and career to excel in both fields, which led them to become national team members.
“Being a student-athlete here in CSB, matutunan mo how to balance your time. Dapat marunong ka ng time management. Siyempre hindi lang naman sa school nadadala yun, pati rin sa sport mo,” De Guzman said.
SEA Games first-timers Anfernee Lopena and Misay Lipat said they are excited and happy to represent the country in the multi-sports meet.
NCAA 100-meter dash record-holder Lopena will compete in the 100-meters category in athletics, while reigning NCAA MVP Misay Lipat will compete in the 100-meter freestyle, 50-meter and 100-meter butterfly in women’s swimming.
Joining these five athletes are Benildeans Sendrina Muse Balatbat (Table Tennis) and Valentino Calvo (Football), alongside 483 Filipino delegates in the SEA Games. CSB will fete its SEAG-bound athletes with a send-off celebration.
“We are giving a send-off (party) for them next week, kumbaga it’s one little way to show support to the athletes. Simpleng get together lang with a couple of friends, family and fellow teammates nila to show our support,” CSB Center for Sports Development Director and former olympian Stephen Fernandez said.