As UAAP resumes sports action and drama, DLSU will count on its second half teams to maintain its slim GC lead over defending champion UST. This season, two blue-chip recruits will be under the spotlight for the Lady Tracksters and the Green Woodpushers.
Lady Trackster: Bernisse Chua
Nobody saw it coming, and neither did Bernisse Chua, that Chua would join the Lady Tracksters.
Ironically, the badminton extraordinaire back at St. Jude Catholic School had no plans to continue her sports career in college. She initially wanted to focus on her academics.
One invite from a Lady Trackster to try out for the team, however, changed the course of her college life as she has found a home in the women’s track and field varsity team as a pole vault jumper.
The proud rookie explained, “Siguro because of my teammates kaya ako masaya[sa team]. Kapag hindi ka naman masaya sa team mo, tatamarin ka magtraining. Sila kasi yung magpupush sa’yo harder.”
Despite the fact that the BSA sophomore student first embraced the sport five months ago, she has proved her critics wrong as she secured a spot in the top 10 finishers, with a 3.45 meter record, in the women’s long jump event in the Philippine Amateur Track and Field Association (PATAFA) last October 13 at Pasig City.
Aside from track and field, 19-year old Chua spends her leisure time engaging in publicity work for her lone Council of Student Organizations (CSO), BMS.
She admits that balancing her academics and rigid trainings is very challenging. As a student athete, she believes that time management is very important.
“It seems like I don’t have any time for myself anymore. I don’t have any social life either. Mods, training, mods, training,” she added.
Chua’s main goal this season is to perform well as the team will rely on its rookies since seven mainstays of last year’s team had already left. Nevertheless, she remains optimistic that the Lady Tracksters would win this season.
“Kaunti lang kasi vaulters. As long as maayos performance ko, may points na agad sa track and field tally,” she ended.
With the next season opener is just around the corner, it seems like she will once again soar higher than everybody else, with or without the aid of a pole vault.
Green Woodpusher: Christian Manola
An eight-year old second-generation inexperienced chess player named Christian Manola entered the chess scene by storm when he placed 3rd despite competing against heavyweights during a district meet.
He played basketball and volleyball during his childhood years, but health issues forced him to focus on chess instead. Eight years after his entry to the world of wood pieces, Manola found himself ready to don the Green-and-White jersey and finally compete to the larger stage of UAAP.
The 16-year old Woodpusher is a naturally born athlete. Drawing inspiration from his parents, particularly his father who was a former chess player himself, Manola became a seasoned gold medalist of chess tourneys in both regional and national levels.
More competitions followed, and awards never ceased to multiply since then.
Manola was sent as a delegate by the Philippines to compete in an ASEAN tournament in Vietnam last 2008. In the following year, he finished 3rd runner-up in the Kiddies Division in the National Capital Region (NCR) leg of the 17th Shell National Youth Active Chess Championship.
Despite numerous and tempting offers from almost all universities competing in the UAAP, the high-prized recruit from Laguna College of Business and Arts in Calamba, after carefully weighing all his options, opted to stay in Taft Avenue instead.
Also, with two other stellar rookies complementing the holdovers, the Calamba native remains positive that they can bring the title back to DLSU and snap FEU’s six-year reign.
“Kaya namin kasi halos mga kalaban namin kasabayan namin maglaro. Talagang mga teammates ko naman gusto din nila manalo. Nasa loob nila na magchachampion kami. Mataas ang fighting spirit. Goal namin hindi masira ng FEU record ng La Salle[six-peat from 1998 to 2004],” he remarked.
His will to win a title is also driven and dedicated to the Green Woodpushers’ head coach Randy Segerra.
“Gusto ko magchampion team namin para kay coach. Supportive si coach. Kung ano yung gusto namin, nabibigay niya sa amin kaya gusto ko suklian yung pagiging father figure ni coach,” he ended.