Host Central Visayas capped a successful title retention bid in the Private Schools Athletic Association (Prisaa) national finals Friday with 58 more gold medals in the final day to leave the competition in the dust.
The weeklong national collegiate games was held in different venues in Cebu.
Region 7 topped boxing, women’s indoor and beach volleyball, table tennis, basketball and men’s football to finish with 117 gold medals, 44 silvers and 41 bronze medals, leaving Region 6 at a distant second with 59-52-54 and Region 4A at third.
Aside from a successful showing in the court, the hosts also earned praises for how the meet was ran.
“The 2012 Prisaa National Collegiate Games has been a grand success,” said Prisaa national chairman Emmanuel Angeles.
“This is the most well-organized and well-supported sportsfest I have witnessed in the last 20 years of the meet since we revived it 1991,” Angeles said.
In football, the hosts did not disappoint the home crowd after winning its first title over a gritty South Cotabato, 3-2, at the Aboitiz Sports Field. Region 12 got the bronze over Region 5, 5-0.
“It really feels good to be part of the team as we won the title for first time in history,” said Karl Arcenas.
Cebu had a sluggish start and trailed behind after South Cotabato’s Giovanni Malalis breakaway goal in the 15th minute. But the booters from University of San Carlos (USC) fought back, with Folk Hanes Antony banking in a header from an Andre Mejaran cross for the equalizer.
In the 65th minute, Antony scored his second goal off another header, this time from a pass from Jojo Rodriguez, who joined the scoring act in a goalmouth scramble four minutes later for 3-1.
It didn’t take long for Malalis to score on another counter as he got South Cotabato just a goal behind in the 75th but it was all the visitors could do.
“It’s about time for USC to be more focused on football after winning these titles,” said head coach Gary Panagsagan.
Panagsagan, with assistant coaches Joshua Fegidero and Hayato Ayabe, also carried the team to the Cebu School Athletic Foundation Inc. title last year.
Region 7 was made up of USC’s Arcenas, Antony, Leonard Tan, John Caballero, Patrick Uno, Mark Plando, Ethan Decena, Pomposo Atillo, Januarius Paglinawan, Joeford Dolino and Roy Melgo, University of Southern Philippines’ Rodriguez, Aljun Armamento, Jason Dumagtoy, Wilford Sebella, Rene Sanchez and University of San Jose Recoletos’s Jovan Torres and Andrin Mejaran.
“It’s overwhelming because it’s my first national Prisaa and it’s really a nice feeling,” said Patrick Uno, who just graduated and played his first and last national collegiate tournament.
Caballero, Decena and Tan, have won national titles at the elementary, high school and collegiate levels.
“It’s a very nice experience and the journey goes on,” said Caballero.
In volleyball, Southwestern University’s Raphril Aguilar, who was discovered in the Gov. Gwen Garcia Unity Volleyball Cup, delivered in her biggest stage to date, leading Region 7 to a 25-22, 14-25, 25-19, 25-13, win over Region 11 in the finals at the Aznar Coliseum.
Aguilar, 22, won the Most Valuable Player award, and teamed up with best blocker Abigail Praca, Fretzie Aligway, Marlyn Llagoso, Neresa Villanueva and Lorie Mae Layno for the gold medal finish, their first in 10 years.
“This is not just an achievement by the team but this is everybody’s victory,” said Jordan Paca, who was named the best coach.
“We are thankful for the great support of the school behind our athletics director Ryan Aznar and coaching staff Jason Gabales and Marlon Luces,” Paca said.
However, in the men’s finals, Region 7 fell short and lost to Region 4-A, 27-29, 25-19, 25-21, 25-20.
Aside from the gold medal, Region 4A also took most of the individual awards—Fidel Rojale as best coach, Abdul Wahab Alfrazin as best setter, and Alnakran Abdilla winning the best server, attacker and most valuable player awards. Region 7’s Jayson Uy was named best libero while Edward Ybañez got the best blocker award.
In beach volleyball, Mike Abria and Mark Anthony Fernandez of the University of the Visayas (UV) added the Prisaa title to the school collection after dethroning University of Mindanao-Tagum’s (UMT) Daryl Kim Lapiz and Jeffy Amora,13-21, 21-12,15-9 at the Southwestern University sand courts.
UMT’s Lourdilyn Catubag, Karen Kay Quilario and Blessie Baguhin made up for the loss after beating Region 6’s Juvi Vinson and Genevieve Dela Cruz, 21-5, 21-10 in the women’s finals.
Abria, who won the Nestea national beach volleyball title with Jade Becaldo last month, said he wasn’t expecting to win the finals.
“We just trained together for a month and I was with Becaldo when we won against Tagum in our semifinals during Nestea. So, I didn’t expect too much but all we did was just play our best,” said Abria, who took the Most Valuable Player award.
Region 7 head coach Raffy Briones, who also won the best coach award, was overwhelmed with the feat because he never expected that they could defeat Tagum considering Abria was paired with a rookie.
Philippine Sports Commission beach volley consultant Eric Lecain was also impressed with the team’s performance.
“If they continue to train and play in tournaments, I can see this team being the future national team of the country,” said LeCain, who is a former head coach of the national volleyball team.