Why is ‘Ponga’ printed on BMX rider Daniel Caluag’s jersey?
JAKARTA, Indonesia – Filipino BMX star Daniel Caluag flashed his fine form on the tracks of Pulomas to bag the 2018 Asian Games BMX bronze. But what caught the attention of many was the "Ponga" printed on his jersey.
Instead of his name, Caluag apparently decided to have the name of BMX coach Ponga Lobramonte printed across his back.
“I made a Ponga jersey for all the support that he does here,” explained Caluag.
The 31-year-old BMX rider used to wear his career number 924 – which is also his daughter's birth date – until the international cycling federation, United Cycling Internationale (UCI), changed the national jersey rules.
“I would’ve made it Edwin [Nyo] until I realized that he wasn’t part of the team but I had to wear a jersey that didn’t have my number on it,” Caluag said of initial plans to dedicate a jersey to his mechanic.
The California-based Filipino hopes that his next major national team stint will be in the Southeast Asian Games in Manila.
But his concerns loom around the lack of a BMX track back in the Philippines.
“Unfortunately [in] BMX, it’s kind of to build a facility – especially with the conditions in the Philippines – it’s not the simplest and sometimes logistics come into play,” explained Caluag, the country's lone gold medalist in the 2014 Incheon Games.
The National hopes that Philippines can create a similar track as the one in Indonesia which tested the skills of all riders, giving local players a big boost in their bid for the 2020 Olympics.
“I know they (Philippines) are in talks with Tom Ritz, he’s definitely a world-class builder and this track pushes the limits of giving top elite athletes a challenge,” said Caluag of the facility that’s planned to be built in Tagaytay.
But for now, Caluag is ready to take a break with his wife and two daughters as they plan to go to Disney World in Florida.
And it's certainly a much deserved vacation after another medal-run for the country. – Rappler.com