July 31, 2011 in people
By ISAGANI LIPORADA / PIO
MANILA — With barely a week of preparations for a battle pitting the best kicksters in the country did not stop six Baguio boys from pressing their luck in the 2011 Adidas Martial Arts Week at the SM-Mall of Asia, July 24.The gamble paid off with 2-golds, 5-silvers and a lone casualty for the super six who were up against the highly-touted members of the Philippine Kyorugi (sparring) Team.
Baguio Defenders junior jins Keno Anthony Mendoza, Benjamin Keith Sembrano, Rencer Shane Lavestre; and seniors Billy Joe Soria, Patrick Castillo, and Anfernie Dizon knew they were up against blackbelts who have been training for months before the tournament.
Undaunted, having been informed only Thursday evening, the team proceeded to Manila Saturday in arush without their regular supporters, their families, or even their mentor and coach Arnold Oglayon.
Oglayon was on the same day coaching the bulk of his taekwondo players in the 2011 National Poomsae Championships in nearby Rizal Memorial Coliseum. His most able lieutenant and player, Soria had to lead his ragtag team.
Sembrano, a senior at the Baguio City National Science High School (BCNSHS), snared first gold in his weight class. Asked about the experience he said, “Our decision to go would have been interpreted as either foolishness or bravery as we have never been to a competition without weeks of rigorous training.”
“Looking back, I’m glad we could actually say we did it out of courage and heart.”
Following Sembrano in the same level of the victors’ ladder is Mendoza, a veteran international bet who in Filipino said, “The fight was really tough but the daily sparring sessions we had, without the usual regular and heavy training we do with coach Oglayon before any tournament, really paid off.”
The third year prep high student from the University of Baguio (UB) added, “It kept us conditioned for any surprise competitions like this one.”
Aside from representing Baguio in the tilt, both Mendoza and Sembrano are also teammates in the Philippine Juniors’ Sparring Team and are being offered juicy scholarship deals by universities in Metro Manila.
Meantime, settling for silvers which weighed as heavy as gold were Soria, Castillo, and Lavestre, all of whom are varsity players of UB training under the watchful eyes of Baguio Defenders sabumnim Oglayon.
Aside from taekwondo, boxing, judo, wrestling, and karate were part of the martial arts event. # nordis.net