Having to leave a stable job, all for a shot to give the Philippines glory in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, was a tough decision to make for national fencer Hanniel Abella.
For the past four years, Abella served in the human resources department of fast-food giant Jollibee. But she resigned earlier this year to fully shift her focus on the regional biennial meet.
“Nag-resign ako February this year para makapag-focus ako sa SEA Games,” shared the 26-year-old.
She told her mother about that plan of hers, admitting that it was “super difficult” just to make her agree. “I have to kausapin ang mom ko para pumayag siya,” she said.
Fortunately, her decision paid off greatly. On Saturday, Abella helped the country clinch the gold medal in the women’s team epee, scoring a critical hit en route to the 45-38 win over Singapore.
“Sobrang saya,” she said.
“Worth it lahat ng pinaghirapan namin the past one and a half years ng pagre-ready.”
Abella and teammates Harlene Raguin, Anna Gabriella Estimada, and Mickyle Bustos have also made history, as they gave the country its first gold in women’s team epee.
“Talagang we work hard for this. We prepared for this, at marami sa amin nagsakripisyo ng school, ng work, time for our families, so we deliver medals for the Philippines,” she said.
On top of everything, though, Abella is just extremely grateful for the support of her mother.
“Una, hindi niya maintindihan, but later on, nag-support naman siya. Sabi niya, ‘Why will you give up something important?’ But winning a gold medal for the Philippines is much more important.”