Friday, September 19, 2014

Little Olympics Wraps Up Regional Legs

The 2014 MILO Little Olympics recently concluded its last two regional legs in NCR, held in Marikina City, and Luzon, in Baguio City. San Beda College-Rizal and St. Jude Catholic School bagged top honors for the secondary and elementary divisions in the NCR leg, while Baguio City National High School and Baguio Central School ran the show at the Luzon leg.

Team NCR are looking to extend their winning streak as they begin their preparations for the National Finals. Over 5,400 student-athletes from 177 schools across the region participated in the prestigious inter-school competition, and competed in 13 different sports including Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Football, Gymnastics, Lawn Tennis, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo and Volleyball, Chess, Sepak Takraw and Scrabble. More than 800 teams battled for the chance to represent Team NCR in defending their championship crown at the National Finals slated on October 24 to 26. Having won back-to-back Overall Champion titles, Team NCR are on a mission to win their third consecutive championship and secure the MILO Little Olympics Perpetual Trophy.

The opening ceremony, which preceded the five-day tournament, was graced by distinguished guests including Hon. Tonisito Umali, Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs for the Department of Education, Dr. Luz Almeda, Regional Director for the Department of Education, National Capital Region, and Hon. Del De Guzman, Mayor of Marikina City, along with over 30,000 spectators from the different participating schools.

Dr. Robert Milton Calo, Regional Organizer for the NCR leg of the 2014 MILO Little Olympics, expressed his delight in the competitiveness exhibited by the participating teams. “All of the student-athletes and their coaches are very ambitious to win the championships so that the Perpetual Trophy will be with us forever,” said Dr. Calo. “All of the regional teams are excellent and we are all in for a thrilling final on October. Everyone has a fair chance to win, but we will definitely put up a good fight come the National Finals.”

San Beda College-Rizal topped the ranks in the secondary division with 95 points. Joining the San Beda Red Cubs in the top ten teams are Emilio Aguinaldo College-ICA (85 points), King's Montessori School (62 points), Sta. Elena HS (47 points), St. Paul College-Pasig (44 points), Rizal HS (42 points), UP Integrated School (40 points), St. Jude Catholic School (37 points), Diliman Preparatory School 33 points, and University of the East (33 points).

In the elementary division, St. Jude Catholic School finished impressively with 67 points, and won first place over the rest of the top ten teams, namely, Concepcion Elementary School (54 points), Legarda Elementary School (53.5 points), Diosdado P. Macapagal Elem School (42 points), Mandaluyong Elementary School (40 points), San Diego Elementary School (40 points), Dasmarinas II Central School (40 points), Marist School (35.67 points), Escuela de Sophia of Caloocan Inc. (32 points), and Itaas Elementary School (32 points).

In the Luzon leg of the tournament, Baguio City National High School and Baguio Central School emerged victorious in the secondary and elementary divisions, respectively. More than 12,000 spectators, including Baguio Vice-Mayor Edison Bilog, graced the opening ceremonies and sporting events to support the 6,893 student-athletes from 215 schools across Luzon.

Tess Bernardino, 2014 MILO Little Olympics Regional Organizer for Luzon, was grateful of the fair weather as they encountered heavy rains during the week leading to the tournament. “It was a blessing for us that the storms did not make landfall on the days of the events,” said Bernardino. “We are delighted that this year’s regional leg of the MILO Little Olympics is well-participated by numerous student-athletes from various academic institutions. This proves that sports are deemed essential in the formation and development of the youth’s health and wellbeing.”

Baguio City National High School clinched the secondary division title for the eighth time, garnering a remarkable score of 197.5 points, with the highest marks in Athletics, Men’s Artistic and Rhythmic Gymnastics, and Lawn Tennis. Holy Angel University’s domination of the basketball courts helped them secure second place (66 points), relegating University of Baguio to third place (64.5 points). Completing the ranks from fourth to tenth are Lorma Colleges Special Science High School (62 points), Angeles University Foundation (59 points), Benguet National High School (49 points), University of Baguio Science High School (43.17 points), Umingan Central National High School (40.5 points), Urdaneta City National High School (40 points), and Colegio Monterei De Pila (33 points).

In the elementary division, Baguio Central School outclassed their rival schools in the Girls’ Athletics, Chess, Rhythmic Gymnastics, and Girls’ Volleyball events, which propelled them to first place with a grand total of 119.8 points. Special Education for the Gifted (SPED-G) followed in second place with 53 points, and Urdaneta High School in third place with 51.67 points. The remaining schools who made it to the top 10 are Don Bosco Technical Institute-Tarlac (51points), Bonifacio Elementary School (41 points), St. Louis University Laboratory Elementary School (37 points), Hilario Valdez Elementary School (32 points), Colegio Monterei De Pila (30 points), and Don Felipe Maramba Elementary School (30 points).

The MILO Little Olympics is an arena for student-athletes to showcase their athletic prowess. The tournament also gives them a chance to begin stamping their authority in their chosen sport. For Roland Daniel Saavedra, captain of the San Beda College-Rizal High School football team, the MILO Little Olympics is a stage where he can make his dreams come true. “I really want to become like my idols Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic, among others, who serve as my inspiration. In the MILO Little Olympics, we get to experience playing competitively, which is similar to how these professional players get to play in high quality tournaments,” shared Saavedra. The 17-year-old budding football star, who also plays chess as a hobby, however, does not forget the importance of becoming a well-rounded student-athlete. “It’s easy to get so caught up with sports because you enjoy it so much, but a good education is very important. For us student-athletes, academics should always come first,” Saavedra said. “You have to have good time management. Prioritize academics, after that, if there’s time, you can train.”

To further encourage student-athletes and coaches to aim for excellence in sports, Most Valuable Player and Winning Coach awards were also presented at the closing ceremonies. In line with MILO’s 50th year anniversary, the leading beverage brand will also select in the National Finals in October the 50 Most Outstanding Athletes in the MILO Little Olympics and provide them with special prizes.

“The MILO Little Olympics is an avenue for our young athletes to be immersed in the competitive ethos, which is essential in their formation and progress from the grassroots level to the elite level,” said MILO Sports Executive Robbie De Vera. “We are blessed to have the support of the schools, the Department of Education, the local government, and our partners in making the MILO Little Olympics a success. We at MILO remain steadfast in our commitment in helping enhance and uplift the level and quality of our grassroots sports programs.”

With all regional legs now completed, teams NCR, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao are focused on their preparations as they go head to head with the top student-athletes across the country. The stage is set for the National Finals on October 24 to 26 at the Marikina Sports Center.


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