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National PRISAA meet opens

By Calvin Cordova
Cebu Daily News
First Posted 14:07:00 04/08/2008

Filed Under: Sports Events

ZAMBOANGGA CITY, Philippines ? After a long 16-hour boat trip, the Central Visayas Private Schools Athletic Association (PRISAA) arrived here on Monday with only one thing in mind ? reclaim lost glory.

The battle is on for the PRISAA-7 athletes as the 2008 National PRISAA Meet formally opens on Tuesday in this place also known as Asia?s Latin City.

?We have high hopes in this event. We have the athletes that could deliver the goods for us,? PRISAA-7 secretariat Bernard Ricablanca told Cebu Daily News (CDN) in a phone interview.

Ricablanca is still in Manila and will arrive here on Wednesday.

PRISAA-7 president Father Vic Uy was set to arrive here late afternoon on Monday.

Climate concerns

Officer-in-charge Ryan Aznar accompanied the athletes and officials during the 16-hour boat trip.

?Hopefully, we can surpass the third place finish that we had last year. The athletes are ready and our only concern is whether they can adjust with the hot climate here,? said Aznar.

?Our athletes are used to playing in covered courts but as what we have heard, most of the games here will be played in open courts,? said Aznar, the athletic director of Southwestern University (SWU).

For the past two years, PRISAA-7 could only come up with a third place finish
Iloilo is the defending champion and has actually won the meet?s last three crowns.

PRISAA-7?s lone championship came in the meet?s 2000 edition, where Cebu City was the host.

That meet was marred by food poisoning that hit some members of PRISAA-7?s technical committee and some athletes from Region 9.

Zamboanga City is hosting the event for the third time with the first taking place in 1994 and the last in 2005.

According to the Ricablanca, PRISAA-7 wound up fifth in 2005.

According to Aznar, PRISAA-7 is composed of 291 athletes and officials and not 360 as reported by another paper.

Most of the PRISAA-7 athletes are from Bohol, Dumaguete and Cebu.

?We have three athletes from Dumaguete and close to 30 athletes are from Bohol,? said Aznar.

?We are expecting to get the bulk of our medals in the athletics, swimming and taekwondo,? said Aznar. ?We are also banking on our basketball team to win a gold.?

The basketball team, which is the defending champion, is mainly composed of cagers from the University of San Carlos (USC).



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