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    Skipping school to train for SEA Games worth it for golden PH sanda quintet

    Dec 4, 2019
    Arnel Mandal, Clemente Tabugara, Divine Wally, Franciso Solis, and Jessie Aligaga made sure their sacrifices paid dividends.
    PHOTO: marlo cueto

    CLEMENTE Tabugara Jr. said from day one that the sanda crew of the Philippine wushu team was ready to win it all.

    Well, on Tuesday, he was almost right.

    Five of the six gold-medal matches were won by Filipinos as they completed a near-sweep of the sanda events in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.

    "Thankful po kasi ganoon po ang resulta namin at maganda pinakita namin," said Tabugara, who won the men's 65-kilogram category and whose prophecy was turned to reality after a strong showing from the Philippine delegation.

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    There's really no secret to the Filipinos' success other than hard work and confidence, the latter of which was buoyed by the electric crowd that gave them a much-needed boost.

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    "Nakakapressure," said Divine Wally, who ruled the women's 46-kg category.

    "Pero yung cheer ng crowd, nakakatulong sa laro namin. Nare-revive ang lakas namin dahil nandyan sila para sa amin."

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      That support truly came in handy for all of the Filipinos who took the mat, which also saw Jessie Aligaga (men's 48 kg), Arnel Mandal (men's 52 kg), and Francisco Solis (men's 56 kg) reign in their respective categories.

      If there's one thing these sanda fighters credit for their triumph, it's their teamwork as they continuously pushed themselves to bring out the best in each other.

      "Pinaghirapan namin. The whole year, nag-prepare kami for SEA Games. Di kami nag-enroll para lang maka-train sa SEA Games," said the 25-year-old Wally.

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      And now, they can savor the sweet taste of their success.

      "Very happy and grateful kami kasi lahat kami nagtulungan," said the 24-year-old Tabugara. "Masaya kami para sa isa't isa."

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      Arnel Mandal, Clemente Tabugara, Divine Wally, Franciso Solis, and Jessie Aligaga made sure their sacrifices paid dividends.
      PHOTO: marlo cueto
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