Persistence is key: A Cardinal’s journey in the SEA Games

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Cardinal trackster wins bronze in the 2019 SEA Games

Reymond Alferos, Mapúa Cardinal trackster alumnus and bronze medalist in the 2019 SEA Games

Ending his last season in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as the Most Record Breaker Senior, Reymond Alferos, Mapúa’s then resident trackster, now has the international leagues under his belt. First of his coming feats outside the collegiate sports league was the recently concluded 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games). Along with three other Filipino athletes, Alferos bagged a bronze medal for the Philippines’ win in the 4x400 Meters Mixed Relay event, which the 24-year-old athlete described to be very overwhelming.

“My goal was really to be able to play for the national team one day. I just didn’t expect that it would happen this year right after my last season in the NCAA,” he said.

Trainings for the SEA Games

The New Clark City was home for the Cardinal in the months leading to the tournament. He underwent rigorous training with the national team and his Mapúa coach, Sean Guevarra, during the entire period.

“It was a very different setting from our training for the NCAA. I spent most of my days in New Clark City, doing my workouts and beating my last speed record with the guidance of Coach Sean,” shared Alferos.

“The pressure of representing the country builds up while the competition drew nearer. And it’s double the pressure for it’s the country that I will be representing. Plus, you can’t be confident that you will get the win in the SEA Games for you don’t know how your opponents will perform, unlike in the NCAA where you get to study your opponents because you have been competing with them for various seasons,” he added.

Alferos had his first time trial in the 4x400 M Mixed Gender Relay and 4x400 M Men’s Relay competitions in September 2019. He placed fifth in the overall rankings and was qualified for the second trial of the same events. Alferos then placed first in his second time trial, finally securing his spot in PH’s official lineup for track and field.

“It was my third attempt to qualify for the league. It was such an honor that out of the hundred thousand hopefuls, I was one of those who qualified,” he expressed.

Less than two months before the SEA Games, Alferos suffered from a hamstring injury. The encouragements he got from his family motivated him to recover and to continue with his training.

“I was very decided to back out from the team. But my family, especially my wife, pushed me to not give up and to keep my faith in the Lord,” said Alferos. “She would always say that there’s a reason why I became part of the team, and that’s my capabilities as an athlete. I’m very thankful for her.”

Reymond Alferos tailing Thailand and Vietnam contenders in the 4x400 Meters Mixed Relay event of the 2019 SEA Games at the New Clark City Athletics Stadium last December 7. Photo courtesy of David Tristan Yumol.

On balancing his student-athlete life

Before this feat, Alferos represented the University in the NCAA for five years. He kept an impressive performance and was one to look out for every season. He took home three medals in Season 94: gold, silver, and bronze for the 400 meters, 4x100 meters relay, and the 100 meters categories, respectively.

But it wasn’t all glory for behind all his achievements as an athlete was the struggle to maintain a good standing in his academics.

“I underwent a four-month-long training for the SEA Games. Though I was mostly out of campus during the preparations, I did not fall behind in my subjects for I was able to submit my course requirements online,” said Alferos.

With the support of Mapúa, through its Athletics Department, paired with self-discipline and perseverance, he was able to overcome the pressure of juggling his studies and trainings. Beyond succeeding in his sport as a runner, the Mapúa’s top gun believes that nothing beats a good education to securing a better future.

“There’s pride in being a varsitarian of Mapúa, which is known for its excellence in engineering. Though I’m not taking an engineering program, I take the school’s legacy with me when I graduate,” he stressed. “From the full scholarship, allowances, and dorm accommodation, etc., I get a good college education because of Mapúa.”

(R) The Philippine team for 4x400 M Mixed Relay in the awarding ceremony. Photo courtesy of the 2019 SEA Games official Facebook page.

Preparing for the 2020 leagues

With only few units left in his Mapúa’s Bachelor in Physical Education program, and having been graduated from the school’s Track and Field team, Alferos still keeps himself busy training with his co-Cardinals.

“Training with the team helps me to prepare for the 2020 leagues. Aside from ensuring continuous growth for myself as an athlete, I also want to impart my learnings from the SEA Games to my teammates,” he stressed.

Alferos was with three other Cardinals who were also members of the Philippine Team for Track and Field: Algin Gomez for Long Jump, Leonard Grospe for High Jump, and Vince Jayson Buhayan for 4x100 Meters relay.