Calibrating Caleb

Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - March 20, 2015 - 2:47pm

Let's play a game.

I'm calling this one sports and heroes. It's easy. I'll say a sport and you give me the biggest active Filipino hero you could possibly think. Game? Game.

Boxing?

You are a living under a rock if you're still looking for answers. 

Basketball?

You'll probably say James Yap. Maybe Junemar Fajardo. Probably Mark Caguioa. Perhaps Kiefer Ravena. Or you can mention Jimmy Alapag. Nevermind if he has retired recently. 

Volleyball?

Are we unanimous in Alyssa Valdez?

Football?

Phil and James Younghusband, without batting an eyelash.

Billiards?

Is there someone more charismatic and talented than Efren "Bata" Reyes, "The Magician?"

Chess?

Eugene Torre is unmatched. Wesley So? Fifty percent of the Philippine population would agree, the other half – still bitter over So's decision to transfer his allegiance to the United States – would probably disagree. 

Cycling?

Santy Barnachea. Mark Galedo.

Athletics?

You'll probably say Lydia de Vega-Mercado. Or Elma Muros-Posadas. But sorry, they're both retired now. You're excused if you say pass. After all, it's been a while since the sports gods blessed us with the likes of De Vega-Mercado or the Muros-Posadas. Without disrespect to track and field, it's hard to come up with athletes who are as massive as the aforementioned.

But don't fret.

There is a hero in our midst.

If you look closely, he is in Sta. Cruz, Laguna. His name is Caleb Stuart.

Making his first ever international stint, Stuart raked in two gold medals in shot put and hammer throw. He did it effortlessly. His heave in hammer throw – his pet event – was just 64.81m. For us, it's a strong performance since our best before Stuart arrived was 61.69m by Arniel Ferrera. But for the former University of California-Riverside standout, it was peanuts. A week earlier, Stuart, now a passport holder, hit Philippine athletics like a tidal wave. Armed with a new coach and renewed vigor, Stuart heaved a 68.66m to destroy every record available in Southeast Asia and this part of the world. Records that fell were 67.24 (personal best), 62.34 (current SEAG record by Thai Tantiphong Petchaiya) and 61.69 (Ferrera).

Unless disaster strikes or some superhuman beings emerge from the ashes from our neighbors, Stuart will win at least two golds in the Singapore SEAG this June.

Can I say wow now?

Wow!

Postscript: This is the first time Caleb has stepped on local soil. But Caleb is every bit a Filipino as his mom, Rowena Pineda-Stuart, is a Filipina from Pampanga. His elder sister, Morgan, by the way, is a third base man in softball will also play for the country in Singapore...Stuart was an athlete made in heaven as he was referred to the team upon the discovery of Philippine Sports commissioner Jolly Gomez, who have scoured for most of the Fil-Am athletes now in the national track and field team.

ALYSSA VALDEZ ARNIEL FERRERA BUT CALEB CALEB STUART CAN I DE VEGA-MERCADO EUGENE TORRE JAMES YAP JIMMY ALAPAG JOLLY GOMEZ STUART
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