CEBU City, Philippines – Batang Pinoy National Finals bound-Team Cebu City Niños started their long journey for Puerto Princesa, Palawan as they left Cebu Ports Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, noon and hoping to get a breezy 2-day boat trip via Manila route.
They boarded the same 2Go ship that carried Cagayan de Oro City and some Mindanao athletes who are also competing to the national finals.
They are expected to arrive at the port of Puerto Princesa Sunday dawn, August 25, and will barely have around 12-hours of rest prior to the opening of the annual national finals organized by the Philippine Sports Commission.
Cebu City will send a total of 340 athletes, coaches and officials with the bulk are taking the boat ride while some moneyed athletes and teams were lucky enough to book a direct flight to Puerto Princesa amidst the rising demand and cost of plane tickets, using their own money, but subject for reimbursement by the commission.
“About 80 percent of the delegation will be going to Palawan by boat. The budget for this trip was released late, that is why the Cebu City Sports Commission (CCSC) failed to procure airplane tickets that were within the budget.
There were some athletes who were able to book a round trip ticket at about P14,000 that is P5,000 beyond the budgeted ticket prices for this trip. So, the commission opted to take the boat ride which is cheaper but a longer travel,” CCSC vice-chairman Lorenzo Sy told iNews.Ph.
On its meeting last Friday, August 16, 2019, the CCSC board identified the change of leadership as the reason for the delay of the release of funds, even if the budget of the said event has been approved by the previous administration. The board vowed to make a policy to avoid these things to happen again.
However, despite the little discomfort, the athletes are still upbeat to equal or even surpass Cebu City’s second-place finish last year in Baguio City.
Last year, the Niños were also stranded for almost a week in Manila because of the typhoon that hit northern Luzon mid-September 2018.
Before the team left, councilor Dondon Hontiveros encouraged the athletes to be inspired and give their best to the glory of the city. The former PBA star encouraged the players to rise above all the challenges that they are now facing, “because great athletes would always deliver when less was expected from them.”
Last August 21, a send-off mass was held at the Cebu City Sports Center Gym which was attended by the athletes, coaches, and officials.
Team Cebu City won a total of 36 gold medals, 40 silvers and 44 bronze medals in Baguio City last year and also finished behind overall champions and host Iloilo City last March in the Visayas elimination.
Cebu City bagged 42 golds, 55 silvers and 63 bronzes in Iloilo City where all medallists were part of the entourage to Palawan including athletes who will vie directly to the National Finals.
“I wish them all good luck. Just give your best and play with your hearts. Stay focus and don’t forget your mission. Make Cebu City proud,” added Sy.
Team Cebu City will be competing in 27 of the 31 events competed in the Batang Pinoy but unfortunately, no athletes will be vying in Basketball Boys, Table Tennis, Judo and soft tennis. /RCM
CHESS players. Jave Marck Peteros and Edelyb Vosotros TCC’s Chess medal hopefuls check in with the athletes at the Cebu City Sports Center for pre-departure procedures before the Team Cebu City delegation left for Puerto Princesa in Palawan.
SECURITY check. Cebu City athletes lined up for security check before boarding the ship bound for Puerto Princesa.
RUGBY Team. Batang Pinoy National Finals-boundbCebu City Rugby Team getting ready to board a bus that will ferry them to Cebu International Port.