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Living up to the Lacuna Legacy



Sports has its share of siblings who either battle with one another – like sisters Kali and Marie Huff of University of the Philippines football, or Cha, Cienne, and Camille Cruz of De La Salle University volleyball – or against each other, like Jeric and Jeron Teng of University of Santo Tomas and DLSU basketball, respectively. Hence, it is not unusual for sports to showcase sibling rivalry and sibling love all in the honor of their last names. Enter Jessie Khing Lacuna of Ateneo de Manila University and Dexter John Lacuna of UP.

Friendly familial competition

As much as the rivalry between the Teng brothers was intense during the UAAP 76 Finals, Jessie was quick to dismiss that the same is true with him and Dexter. The older Lacuna explained, “It is different with our family. In our family, we’re all swimmers. My brothers are swimmers, so nagkakaintindihan kami.” Jessie also added that he does not look at Dexter as someone from rival school, but as a younger sibling he is responsible for, as he even gave tips on how the Dexter could improve on his time in his events.

One of the most poignant moments of this year’s UAAP swimming championships happened in the 200m Free, where the two brothers swam next to each other. Dexter was on lane 5, and Jessie to his left. The older Lacuna, however, kicked it up a notch in the finals to win the gold, while the younger sibling finished in third place. In a proud kuya moment, Jessie hugged Dexter after the latter registered a sub-2 minute swim to get the bronze.

The same could have happened in the 200m Fly, only Dexter could not get a podium finish. The younger Lacuna was emotional at the conclusion of the event, and again kuya Jessie was there to give some words. The Atenean told his brother, “Matatalo ka, mananalo ka, OK lang yan. Yung time, tumaas man ng 1 second, OK lang yan. You can bounce back next year.”

Taking inspiration from one another

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Living up to the Lacuna Legacy

Jessie has accomplished much as a swimmer, including participating in the 2012 London Olympics. From this, the younger Dexter takes inspiration. The Maroon said, “Nakaka-proud kasi kapatid mo yun eh; nirerepresent niya yung country internationally. At the same time, nakakainspire.” Using this as motivation, Dexter shared that he trained and prepared hard for this upcoming UAAP season, which paid off in the competition. He recalled his 200m Free swim, and said it was “a dream come true na magsub-2 minutes.” He added, “Ang sarap sa feeling na … sa lahat ng events ko nag-best time ako, masaya ko dun.”

With this, Jessie expressed his pride over what Dexter was able to do this year. “Nakita namin yung progress niya talaga. Ever since nagstart yung season, nagtetraining, unti-unti nakikita naming pumapayat siya.” He even went as far as saying that for him, his younger brother had one of the best performances for the Fighting Maroons this season. “For me as a swimmer, makuha mo yung best time mo is sobrang good na,” Jessie explained.

Bringing up the Lacuna Legacy

Born to Marcelo and Cora Lacuna, the siblings – all swimmers – have been supported since the start of their careers, and have repaid this with multiple laudable swimming achievements.

For Jessie, winning awards locally and being able to compete internationally is his own way of bringing honor to his family. He noted, “They’re just happy naman na every time na lumangoy ako, especially pag dala ko yung last name namin.” The older Lacuna also believes that his surname brings some sort of high regard to the swimming community due to his and kuyas’ achievements.

After a successful UAAP 78, the youngest brother Dexter has added to this reputation. Dexter said, “Ngayon, sobrang ganda ng performances ko. Kahit hindi ko man sila nakita ngayon, for sure, magtetext naman sila na, cocongrats nila kami, proud naman sila sa min. Lalo na kung nandito sila, nakita nila yung nagawa naming for this season.”

Brotherly love

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Living up to the Lacuna Legacy

At the conclusion of the UAAP swimming championships, the brothers will have to wait a while to meet again in the arena. As ‘parting words’, Jessie motivated Dexter to keep up with what he has done. “Maintain mo lang yung weight mo. Nandiyan ka na. Nandito kami para mag-advise. We’re proud [of him].” To this, Dexter replied, “Sobrang thankful ako na … kasi first time kong makasama [ka] sa podium. Masaya lang. Nakakainspire yung mga tips at advices na binibigay [mo], sobrang malaking tulong. Yung confidence [ko], tumaas pa lalo.”

People always say that when you compete in the arena of sports, you should always play for the name on the front of your jersey, at the back of your dobok, or the one usually printed on your swim cap. In some cases, however, it gives one some sense of pride and honor to bring something for the other name – the surname. And in this country where family is at the utmost regard, such legacy is important.


Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.