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    Rising Stars of Oro Sports 2023

    Lest this short brief be mistaken as a comprehensive take on Kagay-anons who made us proud in the national and international arena of sports, let me clarify this is just a very short list of those whom I had the honor and privilege to write about.

    Furthermore, I chose to write about our young rising stars who are making a name for themselves and our city on the national sports arena, and the much tougher world of international sports.

    Foremost among them is  Alethea Paige O. Gaccion, 16, who rose to the top of the Junior Golf Foundation of the Philippines (JGFP) 15-18 Girls Division, emerging as Champion for the 14th Faldo Series Asian Grand Finals Girls16-and Under Division in Vietnam on April 19-21, 2023, which qualified her to play in the European Grand Finals at the Al Ain Equestrian ang Golf Club, Dubai, UAE on November 21-23, 2023 where she finished as strong second. 

    Ally Gaccion, Ladies Junior Division 14-18 yrs champion in the NGAP Mommy Maling Montecillo Junior Open held Dec. 15-17 at the Luisita Golf & Country Club, Inc.

    Ally topped the three junior amateur tournaments she competed in: topped the 2023 Ping An Bank Junior Open qualifier July 23, Morongo Golf Club, Beaumont, CA, USA; JPGT Vis-Min (Sept 1), JGFP Mimosa Junior Open at Clark (Sept 8) and NGAP Singha Junior & Amateur Qualifiers at Hacienda Luisita (Sept 15-17). She again topped the Ladies Division of the 3rd National Ranking Game held Sept. 20-23, 2023 at the Changi Golf Club in Singapore, shared a team championship and finished third individually at the  2023 Singha Junior World Championship 15-18 girls October 26-29, Royal Hua hin, Thailand. In her latest tournament, Ally emerged as champion in the Ladies Junior Division 14-18 yrs. age group at the NGAP Mommy Maling Montecillo Junior Open held Dec. 15-17 at the Luisita Golf & Country Club, Inc.

    Moises LoisIlogon won a bronze medal in the 32nd SEA Games held in Cambodia.

    Another is Moises Lois Ilogon, a.k.a. The Lion King, won his third straight professional MMA bout on November 3, 2023, in his debut MMA fight with a third round technical knockout on the undercard of ONE Friday Fights 39 at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand to keep his record spotless at 3-0. He has won the national title for Muay Thai three times, and last competed during the 32nd Southeast Asian Games held 5 to 17 May 2023 in Phnom PenhCambodia where he won a bronze medal. He holds a 37-3 record in Muay Thai.

    In tennis, Francine Madeleine Wong, a grade 4 student from Kong Hua School rose to become the country’s top ranked tennister in this age group with 860 total points as of June 30, 2023 according to the Philippine Tennis Association (PHILTA) ranking for girls 12-years-and-under. PHILTA rankings are based on the points scored by the player from the 10 best PHILTA she played in plus International Tennis Federation (ITF) points less penalties.

    The Cagayan de Oro delegation to the 40th Philippine Columbian Association Open Age Group Championships led by the Philippine Tennis Academy kids

    Maggie won 3 championships in the 10-under cateogory in the United States Tennis Assoc tournaments held in Southern California, Consolation Finalist in the 10-under category of the Little Mo Tournament in New Jersey, and finalist in the doubles division 12-under in the Senko Cup in Saitama, Japan. She currently ranks no. 2 in the 12-under age group in the Philippines.

    Maggie was part of the Cagayan de Oro delegation to the 40th Philippine Columbian Association Open Age Group Championships led by the Philippine Tennis Academy (PTA) kids that put up a good showing in the tournament held recently at PCA Sports Club Complex at Plaza Dilao, Paco, Manila. They came home with a team championship, three singles finalists, eight semi-finalists (5 singles, 3 doubles) and six quarterfinalists (3 singles, 3 doubles). PTA is a grassroots program based in Nazareth Tennis Courts, Bgy. Nazareth, Cagayan de Oro City. 

    The Cagayan de Oro Taekwondo Main Gym team with Head Coach & Instructor Engr. Vincent Cecil Orcales and Korean Taekwondo Master Mr. Moon.

    The team gold was won by the mixed doubles champion duo of Carlo Gabriel Mejia (PH No. 1 Jr. 10-under Boys from Kong Hua School) and Joella Marie Sanchez (PH No. 5 12-under Girls from South City Central School). 

    In the international martial arts arena, the Cagayan de Oro Taekwondo Main Gym (A Tradition Of Excellence) team garnered 33 medals in the 8th Daejon MDC Cup International Open Taekwondo Championships held at the Taean General Indoor Gymnasium in Taean City, Republic of  Korea from August 11-16, 2023. The Oro Jins medal haul included 12 gold medals, 11 silvers and 10 bronze, punctuated by the feat of Andrew Rynier C. Cinco who emerged as the King of Kings Champion, in the Forms/ Poomsae competition pitting all gold medalists against each other. Some 2,000 jins from 151 teams and 22 countries at home and abroad joined the tournament, including teams from Tahiti, Taiwan, and the Philippines.

    The Cagayan de Oro Basketball Federation which has been promoting grassroots basketball all over Mindanao for the past 15 years.

    Not to forget the Philippines ‘national sport’, Corpus Christi School swept the 16 yrs and under, 13 yrs and under, and 18 yrs and under crowns in dominant form during the finals of the Mayor  Rolando Klarex A. Uy Cup held on May 27, 2023 at the Xavier Estates Court 1, a domination broken only by Liceo de Cagayan University in the Collegiate Finals where Corpus Christi did not field an entry.

    The competition was organized by the Cagayan de Oro Basketball Federation which has been promoting basketball in the grassroots for the past 15 years. Headed by the Father-and Son tandem of Multi-Titled Coaches Edgardo E. “Coach Boy” Dacoco as president, and Stephen D. “Coach Pong” Dacoco as secretary general, it has been conducting this inter-school development league, outreach basketball programs, coaches clinics, and other basketball-related activities not only in Cagayan de Oro but in other areas of Mindanao as well, and has a seat in the Board of Directors of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), the national sport association for basketball in the Philippines.

    Among the many mentored by Coach Boy over his 30 years as coach (including his stint with ASSET under the late Mayor Pablo “Ambing” Magtajas) are Jio Jalalon, Rey Nambatac, Papot Paredes, Sam Paniamogan, JK Casiño, Dan Sara, Ralph Salcedo, and Rudge Sollano, and many more who made it to the NCAA/UAAP varsity teams in Manila, and went on to shine in the PBA/MPBL pro leagues.

    Not the least, and in what may be the grassroots of all grassroots sports in Cagayan de Oro, the Monte Carlo Football Club along Pabayo street which nurtured kids in the ‘hood who made it to the national and international arenas, is revered by local hard-core futbol (or soccer, it you must) aficionados as the cradle which brought forth so many outstanding Kagay-anon futbol players in the past fifty years or so.

    Carlo Dorin (3rd from left, front row) with the PH U-23 Football Squad to the 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia.

    Aldo Cruz Obenza was the first player from Monte Carlo to play in the Philippines National Team in 1982. Carlo Dorin became the latest when he played with the U-23 Azkals in the 32nd South East Asian Games in Cambodia earlier this year.

    Other prominent alumni include Jonard G. Fuentes, a former University of Southern Philippines Foundation Athletic Scholar; Wilford Sabella Gayramara, another USPF Scholar, now a Certified International Football Referee in Vietnam; Nicho S. Palarca, former player of PASARGAD FC  National Football Club, qualified for UFL and  won many MVP awards in various tournaments; Globert Patayon, a USTP graduate and now a Math Professor in Thailand; Emiliano Mabalos, known for his skills as one of the best strikers of MCFC; and Julie Ann Gerona-Popovic, who qualified for the university’s Team A during her Sophomore year.

    Although their makeshift pitch has now been fenced by the new owner, and the shanties of the Monte Carlo community behind it have been demolished, the place continues its legacy of raising new talents from the grass roots.

    The latest talents to go North are Jefferson Sombero, 17, and John Robert Dorin Galarrita,15, who have been accepted int the Great Oak Manor (GOM) Football Academy through the mentorship of Carlo Dorin.  

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