Track oval reopens as PRISAA opens

FR. VIC UY. When I spoke to him yesterday morning, he sounded buoyant and enthusiastic. Fr. Vic Uy, SVD, is a familiar name and face to Cebuanos. For many years prior to his transfer to Bohol, he was a senior official of the University of San Carlos. He also headed the local chapter of the Phil. Sports Commission.

Today, Fr. Vic is the national president of the PRISAA. And, today, the national PRISAA Games unfold right here in Cebu City.

“We’re all ready,” said Fr. Vic. “All the physical preparations are set. And we’ve very lucky. The PRISAA is the first event that will use the new track oval of the Cebu City Sports Center.”

An estimated 6,000 athletes and officials were expected to arrive this weekend. Unfortunately, some teams backed out—including the strongest contingent, from the NCR.

“They could not decide which teams to send… the UAAP or the NCAA champions. Sayang that NCR couldn’t join us,” said Fr. Vic. But with or without Manila, the Cebu games continue.

Today’s activities begin with an activity that Fr. Vic cherishes the most: Holy mass. “We start this 2 P.M. at the Sto. Rosario Church,” he said. “The parade follows at 3:30 and the opening before 5 P.M.”

Back to the CCSC track oval—isn’t the reopening a perfect timing this weekend?

If you recall, it was 18 years ago when the CCSC was built. That was in 1994. Now, we’re April 2012. While we previously criticized our city government for taking too long on the CCSC rehabilitation (the oval has a targeted lifespan of 10 years; so it became “obsolete” in 2004)), we welcome this good news and say, “Finally!”

Who worked hardest for this latest repair? We give credit where credit is due: Vice Mayor Joy Augustus Young. It was he, back in 1994 and heading the city’s Committee on Sports, who pushed for the construction of CCSC.

Fast forward to two years ago, after Joy assumed his position as the city’s No. 2, he convened a team to deliberate on the reconstruction. Together with Ricky Ballesteros, Dr. Danny Villadolid, Nimrod Quiñones and a few others, I was part of the Technical Working Group (TWG) team tasked to study the various options and bidders.

VM Joy spearheaded our weekly meetings. We scrutinized the various presentations. We deliberated on the cons and pros of each surface. Finally…. it’s done.

Yesterday, I also called Ricky Ballesteros, the manager of our CCSC, and, like Fr. Vic, he was upbeat and excited.

“The oval looks great!” boasted Ricky. “The workmanship is excellent. We had a former Olympian who came over to inspect the grounds and, compared to the likes of Cagayan de Oro and Baguio, this one is excellent.”

Ricky is used to working under intense, maximum pressure. As the head of the Sinulog festivities, each January, he is subjected to excessive tension and stress. Like the CCSC reopening, they finished it right on schedule.

“The line markings were just completed yesterday, right on schedule,” said Ricky. “We had everything programmed to finish on time and we did it.”

Ricky was impressed with the work ethic of the Malaysians, who supervised the construction of the new red rubberized track oval. “They’d work under the extreme sun, no stop. We’re also blessed with good weather and no rain so there was nonstop construction. I, personally, watched their work and asked the help of Danny Villadolid and our other coaches. We’re all set for the PRISAA opening.”

Today is a proud day for Cebu sports.

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