Two dutiful daughters from Davao making good in Manila
ABS-CBN Sports on May 31, 2017 11:07 PM
Angel Antipuesto and Jocemer Tapic (from left) celebrate with their Philippine Air Force teammates after a won point.
Jocemer Tapic and Angel Mae Antipuesto, the lifeblood of the Air Force Lady Jet Spikers’ middle firepower, have a lot in common apart from being both natives of Davao.
They are both 24-years-old, 5-foot-9, and with hair that falls down past their shoulders. They attended the same college, Jose Maria College. They travelled to Manila at the same time in 2014 to enlist with Philippine Air Force where they now hold the same rank of airwoman 2nd class (AW2C).
Both are still single, their monthly paychecks going directly to the care of their families.
Raised in the countryside, both seem to place a high value on good, old modesty as reflected by the simple way they dress and by a dash of conservatism in their deportment. They bunch their long hair in a ponytail and, presto, they are ready to play or go out to work or mingle.
Both are held in the highest of esteem by their parents and looked up to as idols in their communities back home. With plenty of reasons.
Jocemer Tapic prepares to serve the ball during the Air Force-Perlas Spikers faceoff Tuesday, another five-setter which the Lady Jet Spikers lost, their second straight in the PVL quarterfinals.
Tapic and Antipuesto were part of the jaw-dropping Davao Selection that, in their first-ever appearance in the Sports Vision-sponsored V League in April 2014, wowed the Big City fans with their incredible overall showing, including an upset of Alyssa Valdez and the Lady Blue Eagles who at the time were coming off their historic first title triumph in the UAAP.
That was when then Lady Jet Spikers coach Clarence Esteban noticed Tapic and Antipuesto. He wooed them to enlist with Air Force and join his team.
In August of the same year Tapic and Antipuesto flew back to Manila and enlisted with Air force. From then on until now, the Davaoenas have become the Lady Jet Spikers’ 1-2 punch from the middle.
This year they helped Air Force break Army’s dynastic hold on the women’s volleyball crown in the annual AFP Olympics.
On Thursday, June 1, at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan, they will be at the forefront again of Air Force’s attempt at a face-saving victory in the quarterfinals of the Premier Volleyball League, another trailblazing undertaking of Sports Vision in cooperation with official league partner Asics and official game ball Mikasa.
While in La Filipina High School in Tagum City, Tapic, the third of six children of a bus driver, took part in three Palarong Pambansa competitions held in Palawan, Tacloban, and Tarlac as a member of her regional delegation.
On to Jose Maria College in Davao City after her high school graduation, Tapic, in a hurry to help out her father, didn’t finish her Business Administration course, opting to enlist with Air Force instead along with Antipuesto.
“I never once regretted that decision,” she says in Filipino. “The work at the service enables me to help support my family.” She has since been sending a big part of her monthly pay to her family. Two years ago she took out a loan and built them a three-bedroom bungalow. The loan’s now fully paid, she beams.
Her 18-year-old sister, Elmarie Jean, calls her ‘Idol’ and is also playing volleyball for her high school team. Recently, she brought her and their youngest sibling over to Manila for a weeklong holiday which included taking them to her games in the PVL. Her two guests are now back in Tagum City.
“Elmarie must still be regaling her friends and schoolmates now with stories of her idol, me, battling the likes of Alyssa Valdez and the taller foreign players,” Tapic says in Filipino.
Angel Mae Antipuesto sends a signal here to her setter about where she’d like her ball or set to be.
Angel Mae Antipuesto
The youngest of eight children of a logger – “Legal logger,” she cares to stress – recalls still with wonder what she describes as her overwhelming experience in the V League in 2014 as if it happened only yesterday.
She relates in Filipino: “The court we played on was very colorful with a rubber surface yet. And the playing venue was air-conditioned. Wow, this was big! I told myself then.”
Antipuesto played for Davao City National High School and was twice named to their regional delegation that took part in the Palaro in Tacloban and Tarlac, where she had Tapic, a choice from Tagum City, as one of her teammates.
Unlike Tapic, she was able to finish her Financial Management studies in Jose Maria College. Like Tapic, she is also a dutiful daughter.
The moment she became an airwoman her father made a special request to her, that she takes care of the education of her three first cousins who have been living all along with the Antipuestos.
They are her relatives on her mother’s side so that, she says, it especially touched her that it was his Papa who made the appeal for them.
Out of her paychecks for four years, she’s able to send them to college at the same time. One is graduating this coming school year while the other two are to start third year college.
“I’ve now fully realized how hard parenting is,” she declares seriously. “I want to cry because of the college expenses of my cousins. And this is only about school expenses. Parenting covers more than that. It makes me appreciate and love my mama and papa more.”
Back in their neighborhood, his father never tires of telling and retelling stories about her successful athlete-daughter.
Whenever she comes home, always in civilian clothes, Antipuesto feels the community folk’s awe of her.
“They see me play on TV and continuously hear my father’s boast about me. They know I’m sending my three first cousins to college singlehandedly, without help from my parents. I don’t know if Papa has told them I’m already working with the Philippine Air Force. But every now and then I will catch talks that I’m being paid huge salaries in volleyball.”
Antipuesto chuckles hard at this.