Eastern Samar team traveled 24 hours to make history in NBTC

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Mar 19, 2019 01:47 PM
Eastern Samar team traveled 24 hours to make history in NBTC
Eastern Samar finally has a representative in the NBTC (Photo courtesy of 2019 NBTC Nationals)

Dolores National High School made history as the first team from Eastern Samar to make it to the Chooks-to-Go NBTC League National Finals presented by SM.

Coming out on top of a six-team regional tournament, Dolores NHS was hailed as the best of the best of the province.

As it turns out, though, that was just the start of their long and winding road to the national championship for high school.

Even before they got to the Mall of Asia Arena, Dolores NHS had to travel by sea and land for 24 hours. "Nag-RORO kami dahil wala kaming nakuhang financial support. Ang ginawa namin is nag-solicit na lang kami," head coach Roy Lobrigas said following their first game in the national championship for high school last Monday.

He then continued, "Maliit lang yung nakuha namin. Sakto lang pang-rent ng van."

And so, coach Roy and his boys packed inside one van, rode from Dolores to Allen in Northern Samar, boarded the RORO, set sail for Matnog Port in Sorsogon, got off there and then rode upward to Manila.

In all, their trip took around a day. "Hindi na rin bago ang mag-RORO sa amin dahil usual naming ginagawa yun considering mga pulubi ang players namin. Hindi kaya ng mga magulang nilang bumili ng plane ticket," their mentor said.

He then continued, "Kaya para sa akin, okay lang na mag-RORO basta ang importante, makarating kami sa Manila at makapaglaro sa National Finals ng NBTC."

Even before they got to make that day-long trip, though, they had to round up funds to be able to rent a van. "Mula umpisa, walang sumuporta sa amin na NGO (non-government organization) o LGU (local government unit) so nag-solicit kami para lang maitawid yung regional qualifiers. Hindi namin inasahan na magcha-champion kami dun," coach Roy said.

In the end, though, all of it was worth it for the now pride of Eastern Samar. As their shot-caller put it, "Para sa amin, oportunidad yung NBTC kasi ang purpose niya is maipakita ang talent ng mga bata sa probinsya. Kahit konti lang ang nadi-discover na talent sa Eastern Samar, at least, nakapaglaro pa rin tayo rito sa MOA Arena."

He then continued, "Kahit na matalo sa mga laro, yung experience ng mga bata, pag-uwi nila, may maiuuwi silang maganda."

Along with the on-court lessons, the boys from Dolores NHS are also cherishing their first time in Manila. "Sa totoo lang, yung experience pa lang na makapasok sa hotel, overwhelming na sa amin dahil first time ng mga bata na makahiga sa malambot na kama sa magarang kwarto," coach Roy said.

He then continued, Yung ibang players ko nga, 'di alam gumamit ng shower kasi tabo at timba lang sa amin e. Dahil sa NBTC, nakatira kami sa magandang hotel kaya nagpapasalamat kami."

Now, each and every one of them will always be remembered as their province's pioneers in the annual showdown of the best young talent in the Philippines. "Malaking bagay po para sa mga taga-Eastern Samar na makalaro rito kasi considering na medyo underdog tayo, pero lumaban ang mga bata," their coach said.

He then continued, "Kita namang pagdating pa lang na medyo undersized tayo, pero yung experience ng paglalaro rito, malaking bagay na sa amin yun."

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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