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UC Baby Lady Jaguars, ABCamp mentor bids goodbye to her players

GOOD BYE. Outgoing University of the Cordilleras Baby Lady Jaguars team captain Jaja Abad bids farewell to coach Sherry Anne Floresca during the farewell staged for her by parents of the ABCamp, a volleyball clinic she founded with former UC players in 2018. Pigeon Lobien

Everybody ended up shedding a tear.

The University of the Cordilleras Baby Lady Jaguars ended up teary eyed as they bid goodbye to mentor Sherry Anne Floresca Saturday at the Lower Lourdes Extension basketball court who is set to live for the United States 12 days from that day.

All 12 members profusely thanked their coach who promised to come back next year. Floresca wants to find her luck in the US after ending 15 years of teaching mathematics at the UC High School some 100 meters from the covered court where she was given a farewell party by players and  parents of volleyball players from the ABCamp. The volleyball clinic  she helped found with two former members and coach of the UC Lady Jaguars and a sports journalist to teach young volleyball wannabes.

“I started out having zero knowledge in volleyball and look where I am now,” said senior high student Radinka Dumawor, who was a grade six student who does not even know how to serve when she joined the first ever ABCamp in 2017.

Outgoing captain Jaja Abad was all praises of her coach as she recalled joining the camp in 2018. That role she now gives to Triccia Vidal who was only grade five when she joined the camp in 2018.

They are three of the more senior graduates of ABCamp and later joined the varsity team where they finished a strong sixth in the Palarong Pambansa in 2019.

More than 90 players wannabe joined Saturday’s farewell party for Floresca organized by parents of ABCamp alumni, some of them from other schools and now play for their respective schools.

“They were here as early as 7 AM,” said a surprised Floresca who arrived before noon.

“I thought this was merely games,” said the math teacher who spends after classes with the students helping them hone their skills in the most beloved sport after basketball.

The Baby Lady Jaguars will be now be mentored by her boss, UC athletic director Danilo Cong-o, while the ABCamp will be managed by former Jaguars Vincent Palaruan and Christian Reyes, the latter will also coach the UC Jaguars.

“Christian and Vince have been with me for several years handling training in the ABCamp,” said Floresca. Tge two last played for tge UC men’s team in 2018.

In the six years of ABCamp, more than 300 aspiring players.

The recent iteration of the camp has drawn about 100 kids and are divided in three groups playing at said court on weekends and under the mentorship of Palaruan and Reyes.

“We started not paying a single centavo to the barangay, now it is PHP250 per hour,” whispered Floresca to this writer.

Those present were wearing shirts of different layouts showing the evolution of the camp which has its own versions in Apayao and even in Pangasinan, which is handled by a former Lady Jaguar. Floresca played libero for UC in the early to late 2000s when the team won six straight titles.

Her ABCamp co-founders Michelle Remo and Cindy Benitez where her seniors and were coached by former Philippine standout Yul Benosa, who was lead trainor of the first ABCamp.

“I will be seeing them later today,” she said.

“I doubt if she can come back next year,” said Cong-o as he takes on the coaching task of Vidal and company.

Cong-o is the president of the Cordillera Volleyball Federation, the accredited organization of the National Federation Volleyball of the Philippines.

ABCamp was first staged on June 12 and 13 in 2017 and has been the top clinic for volleyball in the region.

It has staged editions in Pudtol, Apayao which dominated the recent  Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association volleyball games where it won three of four.

“We will regain the titles,” said Abad. Pigeon Lobien

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