Seven Palawan athletes won medals in different sports events in the recently concluded SEA Games, a biennial multi-sport competition of 11 countries in Southeast Asia.
Let’s get to know them.
Romark Belo – Water Polo
Born and raised in Barangay San Pedro, Puerto Princesa City, Romark Belo is now a member of the Philippines’ Water Polo team as center forward/center back. His team won the silver medal during the SEA Games 2019.
Belo was once a varsity swimmer of Palawan National School, where he graduate high school. According to a report of Palawan News, Emilio Aguinaldo College swimming coach Dale Evangelista recruited him following a competitive stance during MIMAROPA meet.
In the same report, Belo was quoted in encouraging young Palaweño athletes to continuously work hard for their dream.
Josie Gabuco – Women’s Boxing
Despite her flu during her final fight, Palawan-born and raised female boxer Josie Gabuco still won the gold medal in the women’s boxing light flyweight during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
She presently lives in Laguna, but she was discovered as an athlete during her time in Palawan National School.
Gabuco now has a total of five gold medals from her SEA Games track.
Sarah Jean Catain-Kalalo & Josefina Maat – Women’s Sepak Takraw Hoop
Sarah Jean Catain-Kalalo joined the Philippine team as a student at Palawan National School – Special Science Class in 2002. Because of the demands of playing for the national team, she decided to switch to the regular curriculum according to a Palawan News report.
She played first during the 2003 SEA Games in Vietnam and continued to represent the country until 2011. Kalalo got into the Philippine Air Force in 2012.
Kalalo’s teammate in the Sepak Takraw Women’s Philippine team Josefina Maat was a former BS Criminology student of Western Philippines University Main Campus.
Their team clinched the elusive gold for Sepak Takraw Hoop against their long-time rival Myanmar during the 2019 SEA Games.
John Jeffrey Morcillos – Men’s Sepak Takraw Hoop
During the 2019 SEA Games, the Philippine Sepak Takraw team opened its campaign with a double gold for men and women’s hoops event. The men’s team, which dominated the competition with a table-topping 670 points, was joined by Palaweño John Jeffrey Morcillos.
Morcillos was a 2008 graduate of Palawan National School, where he started his Sepak Takraw journey.
Ronsited Gabayeron – Sepak Takraw Regu
Ronsited Gabayeron ended the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur with a shiny silver along with his teammates in the sepak takraw men’s regu event.
During the 2019 SEA Games, Gabayeron together with his teammates Jason Huerte and Rheyjey Ortouste of the men’s squad shared the bronze medal with Vietnam in the men’s regu of the sepak takraw tournament.
Just like the rest of the Palaweño Sepak Takraw SEA Games players, Gabayeron was also from Palawan National School.
Kevin Pascua – 100m Obstacle Course Race
With not only a gold medal but also a new world record in the 100-meter obstacle course race (OCR), Palaweño athlete Kevin Dador Pascua definitely made his kababayans proud during the 2019 SEA Games.
More fondly called by his friends as Popoy, Pascua admitted that he is a newbie in OCR, pointing out that he was only an ultimate Frisbee player and a mountain climber before he tried out in an official qualifier event without prior knowledge.
Born and raised in Barangay San Pedro, Puerto Princesa City, Kevin beat the 43-second race time set by an American in 2018 when he finished the obstacle course composed of step-balance, trampoline, monkey bars, rigs, low crawl, cliff hanger, Tarzan swing, and wave wall in 29 seconds.
The Puerto Princesa City Council has passed a resolution commending local athletes who won medals in the South East Asian Games (SEAG) 2019 and giving them incentives.