3 water polo athletes now members of Philippine Air Force
After five months of military training, three water polo national team players have completed their stint at the Philippine Air Force boot camp at Fernado Air Base in Lipa City, Batangas.
Adan Gonzales, McGyver Reyes and Abnel Amiladjid are now officially Airmen Second Class.
“Sobrang saya na finally naka-graduate na kami. Sa kabila ng hirap at pagod, masayang-masaya, Airmen na kami,” said Gonzales Friday in a phone interview with Manila Bulletin.
“Ang hirap ng pinagdaanan namin sa training, kung kami nga na mga atleta na, sanay sa training pero nahirapan talaga, what more yung mga ibang kasama namin na civilian tapos pumasok sa military.”
“Pero sa kabila ng hirap at pagod, masaya kasi natapos namin and finally eto graduate na kami, makakapiling na namin ang mga pamilya namin,” added Gonzales, who is excited to be reunited with wife Camyl in Paranaque City.
Gonzales, Reyes and Amiladjid are members of the silver medal winning squad during the 30th Southeast Asian Games here last year, the first podium finish for the water polo national team in 10 years.
Aside from the three, two other water polo athletes are in the military – Romark Belo and Maui Valdez are with the Philippine Navy, and have been at the frontline since the coronavirus pandemic in March.
Reyes, for his part, said that during the five-month training no contact with the outside world was permitted as any form of communication was prohibited and no visitors were allowed.
That, he said, was the toughest part.
“As in totally wala… no cellphone – so walang calls and internet. Hindi naman puwedeng bisitahin kami, talagang yung buhay sa kampo training lang, kain, tapos balik sa quarters,” said Reyes, who is from San Pablo City, Laguna.
“Siguro that part ng five months of training, yun ang pinaka-mahirap na part, especially sa panahon now na may pandemic, hindi namin nakakamusta yung mga pamilya namin.”
“Kaya nung finally naka-graduate kami, ang sarap pakinggan ng boses nung mga mahal namin sa buhay – ako yung parents ko. Actually naka-video chat ko, and very happy na OK sila,” added Reyes.
Amiladjid said that they also were reunited with their water polo teammates since they were allowed to join the online practice session.
“Nakaka-miss din sila. The last 10 years sila mga kasama ko halos araw-araw training lang ginagawa namin, then competition. Tapos biglang nabago lahat para sa amin… sa ating lahat actually dahil sa pandemic,” said Amiladjid, who hails from Davao City.
“Kaya nung finally naka-join kami sa training ng national team – maski na online practice session – masaya kami. Lokohan, kwentuhan kaya masaya na makita uli sila – our teammates and coaches.”
Gonzales said they are just waiting for their swab test, and once the result comes out, they expect to return home and be with their respective families.
They are ready though once called for duty.
“Ready naman kami, basta na tawagin kami, we’ll serve the country lalo na sa panahon ngayon na kailangan talaga kaming mga sundalo. Pero kaming tatlo kasi ang status namin is ‘unattached assign’ – ibig sabihin sa kampo lang kami dahil wala kaming specific na mother unit,” Gonzales said.
“Since naka-lockdown ngayon ang Villamor Air Base, uwi muna kami sa mga pamilya namin. Pero pag nag-open na siya, balik kampo kami, and kung halimbawa na kailanganin ng tao or suporta sa isang unit – halimbawa checkpoint – dun lang kami pwedeng hugutin.”