LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – 16-year-old tennis player Alexis Ondoy from Cebu promised to train more seriously for this year’s Palarong Pambansa.
Ondoy has just participated in his last Palaro; next year he is off to college.
Since their arrival in Lingayen, Ondoy and his teammates from CVIRAA would wake up at 3 a.m. to practice.
Having arrived at the Palarong Pambansa 2012 host region a week early to allow for time to train as a whole team, these young athletes were dedicated to excelling in the sport no matter what it took — and it took a lot.
This is how the team’s stay in Pangasinan has been like: by 4 a.m. every day, they left for the PNP tennis court.
They always wanted to arrive first, as other teams had also been eyeing the same training area.
As soon as they got there, they began cleaning the court. Rain and debris required them to clean it up in order for them to train in the only court that is available.
At night, they trained at the Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center when they could.
The athletes stayed in one of Lingayen I Central school’s rooms. The makeshift bedroom that was home for the athletes for 2 weeks is really a classroom with banigs and mattresses that the boys could sleep on.
Air from a single fan that would turn off every now and then is the only source of ventilation in their sleeping quarters. The heat was unbearable and the shared bathroom facilities were not ideal.
Part of the effort to champion this year included more discipline and sacrifice from the teenage boys. Tennis training took much of their time away from friends and family, and even their diet was regulated.
All this was endured for the love of the sport and regional pride.
Their Palarong Pambansa experience had not been easy. Rigorous training, packaged with substandard living quarters take a toll on the athletes, but the kids grinned and bore it.
As CVIRAA Coach Julie Marie Abarquez put it, “Gusto talaga namin mag-first (We really want to finish in first place).”
A consistent 4th placer in the overall regional tally of the Palarong Pambansa, Region 7 placed 2nd in last year’s tennis tournament.
Ondoy told Rappler about being disappointed in last year’s team performance and their loss to Northern Mindanao. “Okay lang, kahit masakit (It’s okay even if it hurt),” he said.
After last year’s second best results in the Palaro, Ondoy promised himself he would do better.
The hard work paid off.
The Central Visayas tennis team topped both the team and singles secondary boys tennis competitions here at Palarong Pambansa, and placed third in the doubles tournament.- Rappler.com