SportsGreen gallery: First semester rookies excel in the UAAP
Green gallery: First semester rookies excel in the UAAP

 

The first semester of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 81 concluded with a mixed bag of results. Various Lasallian teams across multiple sports bagged team awards and individual recognition. Before heading on to the next semester, The LaSallian caught up with the rookies who excelled at the highest level of competition.

After excelling in their high school careers, the DLSU frosh athletes faced greater heights as they began their UAAP journey. Entering the bigger arena might seem intimidating, but there were new faces who stood up against the challenge and raised the Green-and-White banner. A few individuals were able to outrun other rookies from the various participating universities in the race for the Rookie of the Year (ROY) plums of the sporting events that concluded the first of half the season.

 

Lady Woodpusher Samantha Revita: Inspired and admired

Being awardees in their first year in the UAAP is overwhelming. However, behind these feats are people who have always pushed them to be better every time. Samantha Revita, Women’s Chess ROY awardee, has always been taking inspiration from her parents in everything that she does. Similar to a backbone that aids the human anatomy, her parents serve as her support system whenever she stumbles and fails.

The words “With their guidance, I am able to give my best and be more passionate in my chosen sport” are uttered with much confidence as she envisions herself and the DLSU Women’s Chess team in the top podium as victors in the coming seasons. “With this, I help my teammates improve as we study together. I will always find a way to get the best results and defend our title for the years to come,” she added.

 

Lady Paddler Jannah Romero: Motivated to be better

Jannah Romero of the DLSU Lady Paddlers won the Women’s Table Tennis ROY honors. When asked about who she looks up to, Romero simply said that her teammates and coach Lauro Crisostomo drives her to be more competitive in the sport. The reason behind her deep admiration for her teammates and the head coach is due to their constant encouragement towards Romero.

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. What motivates Romero the most when she’s down are her senior teammates who continuously cheer her up. Phrases like ‘kaya mo yan,’ ‘tutulungan ka namin,’ and nandito lang kami para sayo are what fuels the rookie’s drive to perform better for the team. Romero shared that she plans on continuing to work hard next season, “Sobrang mag-pupush ako mag-train harder para mapakita ko pa din na kahit nagkaroon ng award pinagpapatuloy parinyung gusto maachieve para sa team and sa school,” Romero shared.

(‘You can do it,’ ‘we’ll help you,’ ‘we’re here for you’)

(I will really push myself to train harder so I can show that even though I received an award, I will continue on pursuing the ultimate goal for both the team and the coaches.)

 

Lady Jin Akila Gabrielle Boloto: Humble beginnings

Lady Jin Akila Gabrielle Boloto nabbed the ROY Award after her superb performance at the taekwondo tournament which left her exhilarated. When asked about who she looks up to, it is no surprise that the person would be none other than her head coach, Roberto “Kitoy” Cruz. As a rookie, she found solace under his tutelage since he would set a good example not just to the veterans but to the rookies as well—and given his age, he is still able to go toe-to-toe with his fellow students. “It’s the drive he has and the passion he has for the game—and for the sport na parang he gets up as early as us para kahit nakakapagod na nandyan parin siya for us,” Boloto shared.

(It’s the drive he has and the passion he has for the game—and for the sport that he gets up as early as us even though it’s tiring, he’s still there for us.)

All athletes would agree, claiming the ROY award nod will never be an easy feat knowing that the competition will be filled with skilled veterans. For Boloto, she wants to take time as everything has not sinked in yet. As calm and calculating as she can get, she stated that taking it step by step will be key to long lasting success. “I just want to play my game and I love my sport. I just want to take it slow lang. See where it takes me. Tapos train hard and si Lord na ang bahala.

 

 

Green Tanker Sacho Ilustre: Best of both worlds

Green Tanker Sacho Ilustre constantly dominated heat after heat, whether it was the qualifying rounds or the finals, he was able to give a superb performance which gave him the ROY title. Coming from a family of swimmers, Ilustre was already exposed to swimming since he was five years old. According to him, his dad has been coaching him since then, and to this day he has been grateful for the huge support he gives to him. His dad has been taking care of him when it comes to balancing his academics and training—keeping track of his condition and workload. In Ilustre’s perspective, one of the best traits about his dad is he does not seek credit for the effort and support he gives to his son. “My dad really inspires me, because on a more personal level, he’s always there for me, so yung effort niya I just want to reciprocate it. Yung efforts niya na ginagawa niya in the shadows, gusto ko maibigay sa kanya in the spotlight,” Ilustre mentioned.

(The efforts that he makes in the shadows, I want to be able to put them in the spotlight.)

Being commended as the ROY is merely the beginning. Ilustre’s journey to the top may have begun 14 years ago, but he still faces some obstacles ahead. Coming out with the title can put a significant amount of pressure on some athletes, but in his point of view, he channels it as motivation and cloaks it by having fun in competing. The future competitions won’t be easy, however, having a realistic way of thinking is what keeps him grounded yet motivated. He supports this by saying, “Sports and studies—it’s a really hard thing. So I guess I just have to continue on balancing both academics and sports stuff.” He then followed up that having this realistic mindset means sacrifices must be made. “It’s just that I have to prioritize these two, other than social stuff, you know sacrifices, basically, you have to make some sacrifices in order to reach that goal and achieve that level,” he said.

 

 

Green Fencer Darylle Lumahan: Aspirations from inspiration

Fencing rookie awardee, Darylle Lumahan, started playing in the “piste” since 2013, had the opportunity to compete internationally in 2015, and was officially a part of the national fencing team of the country in 2017. With his achievements at such a young age in the sport, he is already an athlete worthy of appreciation similar to how he admired Park Sangyoung in the finals match during the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games which made Park the youngest Olympic fencing gold medalist from South Korea. Lumahan stanned Park when he showed his composure as an athlete and willpower to win despite trailing behind his Hungarian opponent, and saved four match points, eventually taking the last hit to clinch the Men’s Individual Épée title. “Because of the morale and his confidence and trust in doing his actions, that’s why he won,” Lumahan affirmed.

Aspiring to be an Olympic gold medalist as well, Lumahan is determined to persevere in his training to hone his skills in fencing and gain experience from exposure in the national and international pistes. He is looking forward to the upcoming SEA Games 2019 as he will battle the best fencers in the region in front of his home crowd. “As a national athlete, it’s a great honor to represent my country in one of the biggest games in the world.”

 

Being a rookie is no cakewalk, as you are expected to perform well while juggling academic and practical team duties. On top of that, the pressure that will come from the prestige of being a Lasallian athlete will linger around for the years to come.

The succeeding season will be a difficult one for the five exceptional rookies as expectations from teammates, coaches, and the La Salle community will be high. The rookies will also have targets behind their backs as fellow competitors will likely scout on their individual strengths and weakness. Revita, Romero, Boloto, Ilustre, and Lumahan will have plenty of time to focus on honing their strengths and developing new skills during offseason practices as well as preseason tournaments to be ready for UAAP Season 82, which will be happening later this year.