The De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) Athletics team improved from last year’s 6th place finish as they closed the competition as third place, bagging five gold medals, one silver, and one bronze in the 92nd season of the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) last March 1 to 3 at the PhilSports Arena, Pasig City.
According to Team Captain Anfernee Lopena, who garnered three golds and one bronze after playing in 100m (gold), 200m (gold), 400m (bronze), and the 4×100 relay (gold) competitions, the team’s finish is the best in his five years as an athlete in the College. Lopena is joined by Julian Fuentes, Peter Malaran and Rogil Pablo in the 4×100 relay.
“[In my] 5 years here in Benilde, ito ‘yung highest na achievement namin as a team. Pero for me, contented ako ngayon compared sa last year. I’m very happy sa game namin ngayon kasi halos lahat may points. Mas maraming medal ngayon kaysa last year,” Lopena said in an interview with The Benildean.
“Last year mga seniors lang naka-produce ng medals pero ngayong season pati rookies namin nagme-medal na and it is an advantage to the team na rookie palang kaya na mag produce ng medal,” he added.
Lopena, who played his last tournament for his collegiate year, admitted “the world of track and field is very hard.”
“Very competitive ang game and lahat ng athletes are very hungry to win just like me. Lahat from the start to finish walang pinagbago kasi lahat determinado manalo, lahat palaban. Para sa rookies, kaya nila iyon next season at sa mga upcoming competition basta always listen to [the] coaches,” he said.
In addition, Blazing senior member Fuentes set a new record in the NCAA Long Jump category with 7.59m, defeating the previous best record of 7.42m set by Fuentes himself.
“Last year, medyo kulang kami and hindi kami masaya sa results ng performance namin. Pero ngayon, maganda and masaya kami sa nakuha namin and Benilde lang ang may 5 golds ngayon,” Fuentes said.
Meanwhile, Pablo bagged silver in the Triple Jump category and Senior Blazer Carlo Caongwon gold in the Discus Throw event.
“There are ups and downs from the beginning, injuries etc, but it’s up to you to get back in shape and start grinding. All I can say is that I gave my life and heart to my sports and it was worth it. A good exit for me. Ang masasabi ko lang sa rookies is that training is not enough to win, it has some ingredients to add and that is heart, sacrifices and no excuses.” Caong said in an interview.
With Benilde in third place, Arellano University Chiefs triumphed as champions while the Mapua Institute of Technology Cardinals ranked second.
For more blazing action, watch the NCAA cheerdance competition on March 9 to 12 at the Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City.