ILOILO PRISAA 2024 kicks off at JBLFMU

Hosted by the John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University (JBLFMU), the 59th Iloilo Private Schools Athletic Association (PRISAA) officially commenced the two-week-long sports event on Monday, February 26.

The opening program took place at JBLFMU-Molo’s covered court.

JBLFMU CEO and ILOPRISAA Chairman Dr. Ronald Raymond Lacson Sebastian officially declared the games open, marked by a ceremonial toss, following the oath of sportsmanship led by Swimming National PRISAA 2023 Gold Medalist Georjeana Deb Pleñago. National PRISAA 2023 Gold Medalists John Christian Bandejas and Adriana Yulo, and National PRISAA 2023 Most Bemedalled Swimmer Hans Iñigo Parreño led the lighting of the torch.

“ILOPRISAA has been established since 1965 and has been a beacon of athletic talent for nearly six decades. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which altered our sports activities for three consecutive years, we have emerged stronger and more determined than ever,” Sebastian said in his opening remarks.

He elaborated on PRISAA’s vision to be a trailblazer in sports development, emphasizing its mission to harness the potential of student-athletes, coaches, and stakeholders alike.

The ceremony was graced by the presence of key figures, including Heptathlon star and beauty queen Miss Universe Philippines – Iloilo City 2024, Alexie Mae Caimoso Brooks, who delivered an inspirational message.

“Looking back, you don’t really realize how far you’ve come until you sit down and appreciate the moment. Many times in my life, I’ve overcome fear. I have feared failure and rejection, only to realize that being rejected is just a redirection to something bigger in life… When you’re about to do something big, it’s okay to have that fear in your heart because you’re about to do something unfamiliar, but it’s going to change your life,” Brooks shared.

“In my platform right now, I am using this to empower everyone. I always say ‘Abanse!’ So right now, I am here to tell you, ‘Abanse mga atleta sang Iloilo! Abanse Iloilo PRISAA! Abanse Babaye! Abanse Lalaki!’ Hopefully, wherever life takes you, I want you to keep moving forward, be courageous, and hold onto that dream,” she added.

With approximately 2,000 students (excluding tertiary level) from 30 active member schools participating, this year’s ILOPRISAA promises a display of sportsmanship and skill across 31 different sporting events.

Notably, this year introduces a new addition to the roster with a billiards competition for secondary students.

“Beyond sports, PRISAA also aims to cultivate holistic development among student-athletes, incorporating academic competitions and cultural activities.” told ILOPRISAA’s General Sports Manager Ive Sta. Ana to Daily Guardian.

The Literary, Musical, Cultural, and Academic Contests for basic education (elementary and high school) will be held on April 3-8, 2024 (tentative dates), along with the tertiary category.

Various sports events will take place at diverse venues in Iloilo City.

The winners of the ILOPRISAA Basic Education will advance to the Provincial/Integrated Meet, while both high school and tertiary category winners will proceed to the WVPRISAA.

The event’s organizers expressed their gratitude for the collective efforts of the member schools in making this year’s PRISAA possible.

With a focus on continuous improvement, ILOPRISAA remains steadfast in its commitment to nurturing young athletes and promoting camaraderie through sports.

(Photo courtesy of JBLFMU’s official school publication, The Seagull)