(This is my Fair Play column for SunStar Cebu’s Oct. 25 print edition)
As Pinoys, we often know people by their nicknames, only to be surprised when we learn their real names. Such is the case of Moalboal sports coordinator Dondon Delgado, who I learned was a Vivencio in official documents when I got the lineup of Moalboal’s team for the Gov Cup.
The story of why Vivencio became a Dondon is interesting but the story he told me about Moalboal volleyball is even more interesting.
Moalboal has a rich history in volleyball, thanks to the Moalboal Amateur Volleyball Association and individuals like Dexter Tapales, who trains players on his own accord.
Dondon, one of Moalboal’s top tennis players who has a mean serve and an even meaner reaction when he botches easy shots, told me that at one time, almost 20 players from the town were taken as athletic scholars by Cebu schools and in one Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Inc. tournament three of the four MVPs in volleyball came from the town.
That’s how good Moalboal volleyball is. So before the Cluster 3 eliminations of the Gov. Cup, he told me the town was aiming for nothing less than the title, having won it in 2019.
With a lineup that had veterans Chrisa Omagac, Pinky Rose Paquiera, Ivony Love Templado, Niñamae Escaberte, Mary Christine Rebano, and Monica Sambilad, he was confident of aiming for the Cluster 3 crown. The team, which also had Ivy Gocotano, Elvie Aquino, Juliana Isabel Gabales, Colleen Leslie Glover, Jilyn River, Shellce Dela Reta, Marie Mae Isola and Jay Ann and Angel May Tapales had a perfect preparation, thanks to the support of Mayor Titing Cabaron (real name Inocentes, another tale in itself).
Moalboal, backed by coaches Melfa Gador, Elviera Razonable, and trainers Janice Tampus, Tapales, Marlene Villanueva, Maybelle Cabaron, finished second with a 5-2 record after losses to Barili and to Dumanjug.
The Gov Cup committee told me Omagac was one of the standout players along with Glover. Dondon said a few days after the tournament that Omagac’s strength became her weakness. Her powerful strikes had the crowd going “Boom” with every hit and eventually Dondon told me, she got caught up in the moment that she started playing for the crowd.
The loss to Dumanjug was particularly painful, as a careless service error in the second set tiebreak due to crowd pressure did them in. Still, Vivencio is happy with the outcome as the young team made it to the next round and will be facing the other top teams in other clusters. I asked him whether Moalboal can get past their next batch foes.
He was non-committal and simply said Moalboal will be facing other winners.
But he is hoping that Moalboal’s presence in the next round will lead to its players getting scouted by schools and eventually, getting scholarships. Because for me, that, more than trophies should be the narrative of inter-town sports. It should be the stories that should be told and re-told so kids in the next generation would be inspired to take up sports.