Countering its back-to-zero status, the University of Santo Tomas-Legazpi managed to pool what’s considered to be the university’s biggest delegation in years for the regional games of the 2023 Private Schools Athletic Association (PRISAA), a forefront sports association that aims to bring exposure and credibility to private schools across the nation through tournaments, national ranking, and player/coaching awards and recruiting services. The regional games are set to on May 19-21, 2023 with Naga City as this year’s sporting host.
For this school year, UST-Legazpi is sending a total of one hundred six athletes across twenty one sporting events and two literary and musical (litmus) events. The majority of them are first-timers given that the university’s key players already graduated after years of being stalled from the games.
Coming up with the final roster of athletes took place at the right time and place according to Marie Veronique Berdin, MAED, Director of the Center for Sports, Wellness, Culture and the Arts (CSWCA).
“We prepared way earlier this year. We are the first in the province to build a varsity team (with scholarship) right after an announcement was released that games will resume in-person after the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic were lifted”, said Berdin who considers this factor as their edge this year including a strong strategy to help their athletes have balanced study and training.
Berdin also stated that during the provincial leg, all of their teams that won each event made them advance to the regional games, thus creating the biggest delegation the university had in years.
As for further edges among other teams, Berdin is confident that the Table Tennis and Beach Volleyball Teams will outperform others to advance in the nationals. The same goes for the members of the Basketball Team who in previous years continuously advanced to the national level.
“We are hoping and praying that many of them will be able to win and advance to the national games to be held in Mindanao,” Berdin added.
Stories from the athletes
Alec Domiquil, a third-year Philosophy student is one of the returning student-athletes this year. He already played in the 2018 PRISAA National Games in Davao and considers it one of the best experiences he ever had as a Thomasian athlete.
“It feels good to be back again. I did not expect myself to be playing and competing in PRISAA again,” said Alec on his strong comeback as a volleyball player.
Domiquil looked back on his journey before the regionals recalling their heavy training, body pain, fatigue, and even balancing his academics before the regional games.
“It is hard to balance studies but it is not impossible. Everything is possible for a person with great discipline above all combined with good time management,” he said.
In terms of preparation, the returning volleyball player said that their regular sports training helped them achieve a conditioned body. With the help of his teammates, Alec was able to build connections and enhance his skills this season.
Domiquil also shared that the scholarship he got from being a varsity player helped him finance further his studies in Philosophy. It taught him a lot of things at a young age including battling anxieties and pressure brought by the intense environment in the sports industry. It equipped him to firm up his priorities which is of course, education above sports.
Coming to the games, Alec is set to give his best to represent UST-Legazpi.
“I wish my teammates to be selected for the upcoming national games in Zamboanga in July of this year,” he added.