DavNor athlete finally bags gold in tennis in 5th Palaro stint
TAGUM CITY, Philippines - It took him 5 tries, but Region XI athlete Christian Fel Lopez finally gets to bring home a Palarong Pambansa gold after winning the secondary boys’ singles tennis competition on Wednesday, May 6.
Beating his opponent from Region VII, 8-2, the recently-graduated Lopez from Nieves Villarica National High School can add another medal to his already-crowded mantle.
Lopez started playing the sport at the age of 6, when his uncle introduced it to him. He was instantly hooked.
“Interesting at magandang exercise siya. Nuon, nagsasali kami nang tournament, at nagustuhan ko na.” (I started because of my uncle. He also plays tennis. It's an interesting and fun exercise. We used to join tournaments and I liked it.)
The 16-year-old has won many tournaments before - some even representing the Philippine colors intentionally - but winning his 5th and last Palarong Pambansa tournament was special to him. It took 5 seasons, but he finally accomplished his goal.
Was he nervous prior to the finals?
“Medyo po,” he admitted. “Kasi gusto ko po mag champion eh.” (A little bit, because I wanted to become a champion.)
The Palarong Pambansa is the largest grassroots sporting even in the Philippines that aims to develop the potentials of the youth to become responsible and globally competitive citizens.
The next journey: UAAP
Moving forward, Lopez plans to achieve more success on the tennis courts of the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP), where he will represent the University of Sto. Tomas.
“That's where my elder brother is,” Lopez, who came from Samal Island, Davao del Norte, told Rappler about picking UST over his other suitors - the University of the Philippines and the Ateneo de Manila University.
“Ang sarap sa feeling po, tapos exciting,” the eager 16-year-old standout said about how much he looks forward to his next journey. (It's a great feeling. I'm excited.)
Lopez said he plans on majoring in Commerce, which he hopes he can use to establishing a business after he graduates. He already has one in mind - making tennis rackets.
But first, he will have to balance being both a student and an athlete in an institution that is the reigning overall champion of the UAAP.
He’s already asked his brother, Elvie, about the challenges that lie ahead.
“He told me that I have to study hard,” the younger Lopez said.
“Sa college life, syempre, disciplina. Kasi dapat i-balance yung sports at academics,” he added. (In college, of course, there needs to be discipline. Sports and academics need to be balanced.)
After adding another great feat on his resume, Lopez prepares for the next obstacle ahead - Manila.
"I think I'll just really enjoy. It's going to be my first time in Manila so I'm excited," he concluded. - Rappler.com