LOCK AND LOADED. The Letran Track and Field squad gears for the NCAA Season 94. Photo by Angela Davocol/The LANCE.
The Letran Track and Field squad will be banking on star Rusell Galleon to help and improve their ranking in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) track and field competition which will be held on March 28 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
After finishing seventh in last year’s tournament, head coach Jerry Atabay is eager to up their ranking and go toe-to-toe with the NCAA’s finest.
“Ang sa amin kasi, atleast ‘yung position namin nasa rank seven kami nung nakaraan, i-akyat lang namin ‘yun, one step forward,” said Atabay.
Also, the long-time track and field mentor aims to help Galleon cement his legacy as one of the NCAA’s best runners.
“At the same time, break the record ni Russell. Maitaas niya ‘yung level of performance niya and then ma-hit niya ‘yung mga national record, ‘yung mga national best niya,” he said.
“So, ‘yun na lang yung mga ine-establish namin ngayon para kahit papano maganda yung magiging history niya dito sa NCAA,” he added.
Galleon set the NCAA record for the 200-meter dash last season with a record time of 21.93 seconds while also bagging two silver medals in the 400-meter dash and 400-meter hurdles.
However, Atabay admitted that the road will be tough for the Intarmuros-based runners as his staff had a hard time securing some their recruits.
“’Di talaga tayo nakapag recruit kasi nauunahan tayo ng mga UAAP schools. Kasi, siyempre, nagbibigay sila ng mga allowances, so minsan nasisilaw ‘yung mga class A players galing Palarong Pambansa, nasusulot pa sa amin,” Atabay explained.
The team only has eight runners in the roster, 14 players short of the standard number of athletes on Atabay’s roster.
“Ang line up ko eight lang sila, eh ang regular line up ko is 22 kasi nga talo tayo sa recruitment,” he lamented.
Despite being undermanned, Atabay assures the Letran community that they will not be going down without a fight.
“Pahihirapan namin sila bago sila manalo, expect niyo ‘yun,” he said proudly.
“Kami ‘yung manggugulo, ‘di nila agad malalaman kung sino ‘yung mananalo, manggugulo kami sa distribution ng points ‘di sila solid na sila agad panalo,” he ended.
(First published on The LANCE's Jan-Feb 2019 Issue)