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The athletes of Sendong

David Yu Santos

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A number of Tropical Storm Sendong survivors draw inspiration from sports to overcome grief.

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – The Northern Mindanao volleyball team almost did not make it to Palarong Pambansa this year.

More than half of the12-member team were victims of Tropical Storm Sendong, which struck Cagayan de Oro and Iligan in December 2011.

At least 800 people died from Sendong, thousands of families were displaced.

Sixteen-year old spiker Renz Enerio watches on the sidelines, as his team battles it out against Caraga Region — their first game.

Enerio lost his mom, Emelita, to Sendong.

A former team member and Palaro veteran, Lloyd Damalan, is one of 400 who remain missing.

The team’s coach is himself a Sendong survivor.

Unlike Enerio, Alex Adeva is grateful he only lost things he owned to the flood.

But Alex was not sure he could gather his players together for training.

After the flood, Enerio was not even sure he could join Palaro.

Kaya ako patuloy na naglalaro, sabi ng ate ko wag na ako maglaro dito, para na rin sa kinabukasan ko kasi may scholarship ako makukuha pag sumama ako dito sa palarong pambansa, kaya sumama ako.

Volleyball Player

Inisa-isa ko sila, lalo na yung si renz, kasi nawala yung mama niya. sabi nila, sir, kung biktima kami then mawala pa kami, love namin ang volleyball. so kung hindi mo palaruin, mas lalong biktima kami

Volleyball Coach

Taking off from the determination of the players, the team trained hard for more than a month.

Pag wala sigurong sports, hindi namin alam kung saan kami, saan kami mapunta kasi kita mo yung ibang biktima, wala talaga. kung makapunta ka sa cagayan de oro, parang walang wala na sila. parang end of the world para sa kanila

Volleyball Coach

Enerio says, he has recovered from the tragedy, largely due to his non-stop training for the Palaro.

Hindi ko na iniisip ang trahedya kasi, tapos na yun. wala na. wala na tayong magagawa, hindi na natin maibabalik kayo tuloy ang recovery. hindi ko na iniinda ang sakit. Pagnaglalaro na o before mag laro, parang sinasabi ko nga:  ma, para sa yo ‘to.

Volleyball Player

Region 10  will face tough opponents Central Visayas and Calabarzon for the eliminations.

But against all the odds, they are keeping their eye on the goal–  to land in the top 3.

For now, they conquer Caraga, winning them over in two sets. 

Not bad for a team still in mourning. 

          We are Sendong victims, pero ipakita namin sa buong mundo na bumangon kami. kaya namin to.

Volleyball Coach

But more than competing and rising above adversity, Region 10 wants to say thank you to the world, for helping them through the tragedy. – Rappler.com

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