LINGAYEN–Calabarzon – which clusters the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon – crushed the opposition in ball games, running away with the men’s and women’s cage titles and the men’s volleyball crown but that was not enough to stop Central Visayas from retaining the overall lead and the title in the Private Schools Athletic Association (PRISAA) national collegiate games which drew to a close Friday.
Calabarzon settled at second place with 68 gold, 30 silver and 49 bronze medals.
Central Visayas finished with 77 gold medals, 50 silver and 29 bronze to retain the PRISAA crown it won last year playing in its home court in Cebu.
The University of Batangas drew 18 points each from its players Edcel Mag-Isa and Roel Rodovia to beat Lyceum Northwestern University of Region 1, 103-87, while the women’s team outplayed Central Luzon, 72-50, at the Narciso Ramos Gym inside the sprawling Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center (NRSCC).
Host Region 1 is 6th with a 9-32-17 medal harvest.
More than 4,000 athletes from the 17 regions all over the country gathered at the NRSCC to take part in the formal opening on February 11 where Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas was the guest of honor and speaker.
“Kapag naglaro kayong kasama ang Diyos, kapag naglaro kayong buong kaluluwa, kapag naglaro kayong hindi kinakalimutan ang buhay na walang hanggan, kahit saan kayo makarating, you will always be champion,” Villegas told the athletes.
Meanwhile, Pangasinan Provincial Administrator Rafael Baraan who represented Governor Amado Espino Jr. stressed that sports is a very significant part in the training of future leaders.
“Sports events as PRISAA promote the values of hard work, integrity, respect for others, and excellence,” Baraan said.
Baraan noted that Pangasinan’s hosting of PRISAA this year is very different from the first time in 2006 with better facilities offered by the NRSCC, which underwent renovation under the Espino administration.
Baraan also announced that Espino has approved an initial budget of P15 million for the Pangasinan Sports Academy which is planned for opening this year.
Atty. Gonzalo Duque, PRISAA National President lauded the governor’s passion for sports as well as sports development citing that Espino is “the only governor that has maintained the facility of NRSCC.”
Gonzalo said the PRISAA is likewise expanding its program on youth sports development with the inclusion of private high school students this year for the first time.
For his part, Dr. Emmanuel Angeles, PRISAA national chairman, said he hopes that in 10 years, the country can bring home an Olympic gold medal through training from the PRISAA athletic competition.
PRISAA is the country’s largest national athletic association with more than 500 member colleges and universities from around the country.—with reports from Johanne R. Macob and Eva Visperas