A badminton legacy: 2 generations of Palaro

Anna Isabel C. Rodriguez
Meet the Gabuelos: a family for whom badminton -- and Palarong Pambansa -- is in their blood

BADMINTON LEGACY. Coach William Gabuelo, Tyrell Gabuelo, Keeyan Gabuelo, and Coach William "Tums" Gabuelo - all Palaro athletes. April 24, 2012. Isa Rodriguez.

MANILA, Philippines – WWGBA, a badminton academy in Las Piñas, now has 200 students from the 4 that they started training 6 years ago. They have produced previous Palarong Pambansa champions, and this year they are sending 5 players to represent NCR.
 
Father William Gabuelo and son William “Tums” Gabuelo Jr. built this academy — WWGBA stands for William, William Gabuleo Badminton Academy.

Dedicated and hard working, they have never missed a Saturday training in the whole of their 6 years of operations.
 
The 2 men work tirelessly, training and coaching their students.
 
Grassroots

Most students in the academy are ones that have grown up with and in the academy. Most of the kids dream of one day becoming a badminton star and representing the Philippines.
 
Like these kids, the Gabuelos have had early starts in their sports careers.
 
William Gabuelo’s affair with sports started in the 70‘s when he was in grade 5.

Representing Western Visayas, the older Gabuelo competed in the Palarong Pambansa.

At a time when playing in the Palaro meant competing against the national teams, Gabuelo brought home the gold in table tennis, and broke NCR’s winning streak.
 
Table tennis’ off-court season prompted Gabuelo Sr. to cross train, and this is where his affair with badminton began.

Initially playing the sport just so he could condition his body during table tennis’ seasonal breaks, he soon started competing in badminton and played at the Philippine National Games 2 years later.
 
He now creates training programs for the kids in their academy.
 
Tradition lives on

William Gabuelo Jr., or Coach Tums as everyone calls him, shares his father’s passion for sports.

He was 14 when his father, who took the role of coach and mentor, first introduced him to badminton.

The father and son team’s good relationship and one year of intense, religious training paid off.
 
In 2000, the younger Gabuelo, armed with his father’s guidance and his natural competitive attitude, represented Western Visayas at the Palarong Pambansa.
 
He told Rappler that it was a dream for him to compete in Palaro.

To champion in these games, he said, is an achievement every athlete aimed for because it meant being the best in the country.
 
That year, he came home with the singles and mixed doubles badminton championships and bigger opportunities.
 
For Gabuelo Jr., the Palaro was  a stepping stone.

He was offered scholarships from different colleges and was tasked to compete in other countries.
 
He is now a full time coach for team WWGDA. He and his father, Gabuelo Sr.,  enjoy teaching and coaching the players of the future.

A believer in the importance of innovation, Gabuelo Jr. takes his father’s training styles and adds his own input from his experiences.

Their advice for their Palaro athletes? “It’s your time to shine… give your best in every game.”
 
The dream for the future
 
Aside from father and son William and Willian “Tams” Gabuelo, younger brother Tyrell Gabuelo is also on his way to badminton success.

One of the 5 traveling to Pangasinan this May for Palarong Pambansa, Tyrell hopes to bring home a medal.

He trains everyday under his father and brother.
 
He told Rappler that he feels proud that his whole family plays the sport they all love and excel in and that it’s easier for him because of the support he is given.

The 16-year-old plans to possibly become a coach himself.

Another Gabuelo who has competed in Palaro is Tyrell’s 13-year-old nephew, Keeyan, who was a champion in all 3 Palaros he played in.
 
“When you excel you will be recognized meaning you have achieved something. So train,” Gabuelo Sr. said. “You compete to be recognized, meaning doing everything, doing your best.”

It is the same advice he gives his sons.
 
The Gabuelos have big dreams for WWGBA and the sport of badminton in the Philippines.

They hope for a Filipino badminton player in the Asian and world tournaments, regardless of whether or not the athlete is a product of their academy. – Rappler.com