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Joining PNVFCL just the start for Basilan’s volleyball program

LIPA CITY, BATANGAS – An instrument for change.

That’s how the Basilan Steel Spikers saw their stint in the Philippine National Volleyball Federation Champions League.

After all, aside from competing, the Steel Spikers’ main goal is to crush the misconceptions that have been hounding Basilan for so long – and to show how the once war-torn province rose from the ashes and transformed into a place that can cultivate sports.

“Yung gusto namin ipakita maging inspirasyon ng mga kabataan sa Basilan ang paglalaro at isa na dito yung volleyball,” said Basilan team manager Dr. Arnel Hajan.

“Kasi nakilala na kami sa basketball sa MPBL, VisMin Cup, so ngayon unti-unti naming ini-introduce din yung ibang events to signify na maunlad na ang Basilan.”

While the team failed to score a win in the first-ever National league, the Steel Spikers showed great resilience all throughout the tournament.

Basilan, which entered the Champions League with only five whole days of complete training, even lost its top stars in Mark Enciso and Jason Sarabia to injuries in the midst of their short campaign.NCAA-93-Volleyball-SBC-vs.-CSJL-Enciso-4221 Joining PNVFCL just the start for Basilan's volleyball program News Volleyball  - philippine sports news

But still, despite the series of unfortunate incidents that went their way, the Steel Spikers soldiered on to finish the tournament.

“Nakakalungkot lang kasi kahit isang set hindi kami nakakuha, tapos parang mananalo na tapos ‘di nakayanan. Sayang pero okay lang ang mahalaga doon lumaban yung mga bata,” said Hajan.

“Hindi bumigay agad masaya nga ako sa laban nila sa Go for Gold yung second set, third set yung second set amin na yun bumitaw lang yung mga bata kung nakuha namin yung set na yun baka umabot ng five sets tulad ng VNS,” he added.

According to Hajan, the efforts to promote the sport of volleyball in Basilan have been going for the past couple of months with the PNVF joining hands with Congressman Mujiv Hataman and Governor Jim Hataman-Salliman.

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Together, they launched the ‘Bola Hindi Bala’ campaign where they donated 20 Mikasa balls to the province’s 13 municipalities.PNVF-Negros-vs.-Basilan-Palisoc-4633 Joining PNVFCL just the start for Basilan's volleyball program News Volleyball  - philippine sports news

“Those balls we distributed it to different municipalities yung may mga bata na affected ng war. Ang nangyayari, imbis na baka makita nila o baril, ang nakikita nila ngayon naglalaro through bola.

“Ang point nila doon, imbes ang mga kabataan malulong sa masamang gawain. I-expose natin sa sports ang mga kabataan,” said the PNVF vice president.

Aside from promoting sports, the long-time volleyball official also hopes that the team’s campaign can help boost the province’s roster of tourist attractions such as the Langgas Pink Beach, Lampinigan Beach, and Malamaui Beach, to name a few.

“Gusto rin namin iparating ang mensahe na dati kapag sinabing Basilan, terrorism area yan. Gusto namin iparating na tourism area na kami. From terrorism to tourism,” Hajan said.

“Every time na nababanggit yung Basilan sa sports, maganda diba? Masasabi ng mga tao na okay naman pala yung Basilan,” he added.

Overall, this is just the beginning for Basilan both in sports and tourism as Hajan sees a bright future ahead once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

“Ako personally masaya ako despite na nasa kalagitnaan tayo ng kadiliman dala ni COVID-19, yung PNVF nagbibigay ng ilaw. How much more kaya if out of the tunnel na tayo kasi nasa loob tayo ng tunnel ngayon e.”

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