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ROTC Games potential breeding ground for nat’l athletes – Gaston

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BACOLOD – The Philippine Reserve Officers Training Corps Games is a potential breeding ground for national athletes for international play, according to Commissioner Matthew “Fritz” Gaston of the Philippine Sports Commission.
“We can foresee that the Philippine ROTC Games is another means of spotting potential talents that one day will compete in international competitions,” noted Gaston here Saturday after observing some of the sports at the end of the Visayan qualifying leg of the meet for student cadet-athletes.
Gaston pointed to the example of arnis, the national sport, where over 150 athletes participated during three days of action in the sportsfest supported by the Department of National Defense, Commission on Higher Education, and PSC.
 “I gathered from arnis secretary general Gerald Canete that the number of arnis participants could have been more but some had to be turned away because they could not meet the registration requirements. I saw some of the matches and noted the high quality of their performance of our arnis bets,” he said.
 He also learned from Canete that some schools that do not have the ROTC program are now interested in including it as part of the activities of these institutions, which would be a welcome development for both local sports and the ROTC. “The Philippine ROTC Games could serve as a complementary competition to other meets such as the Palarong Pambansa, Philippine National Games, and Batang Pinoy Nationals,” said the PSC official, who himself was an ROTC Cadet with Ateneo and is also a huge advocate of the program.
 He proposed that more disciplines be added to the sportsfest, with seven sports making their debut including swimming and the raiders’ competition, an obstacle-course-like contest that gave the cade athletes a glimpse of experiencing what it is like in a military boot camp. Overall, the commissioner was pleased by the brainchild of Senate Majority Leader Francis Tolentino, a brigadier general reservist, who is co-author of the law to make the ROTC a compulsory program once again in colleges and universities.
Meanwhile, Iloilo Science and Technology Army cadets claimed overall honors of 17 gold, 14 silver, and 5 gold medals in the event supported by the Bacolod City government led by Mayor Albee Benitez.
Host school Carlos Hilado Memorial State University was second (12-17-7), and Cebu Normal University, banking on its windfall in arnis, was third (11-4-8).  Capiz State University (7-6-6) and the University of Antique (5-5-11) were fourth and fifth place, respectively.
Depending on the sport and number of entries in each event, most of the winners in the various sports in the Visayan leg will qualify for the Philippine ROTC Games national finals scheduled Aug. 18 to 24 in Indang, Cavite.
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