PWU: A rising futsal power

Rick Olivares - Philstar.com
PWU: A rising futsal power
PWU has done very well in table tennis, swimming and basketball, but if there is any sports program where the college has made its mark, it is futsal.

MANILA, Philippines – Don’t look now, but that quiet and unobtrusive school along Taft Avenue is making noises.

The Philippine Women’s University has long been known for its humanities and arts courses that have produced its share of famous people. 

However, since the new millennium began, this 102-year-old institution has done well in the realm of sports. PWU has done very well in table tennis, swimming and basketball, but if there is any sports program where the college has made its mark, it is futsal.

And its architect is a former women’s football star for De La Salle in Marielle Benitez-Javellana who is the Athletic Director of PWU.

“It’s challenging,” described Benitez-Javellana of her job. “When I graduated in 2004, wala pang sports program ang PWU. My aunt said, ‘why not start a sports program?’”

“In my first year on the job, I learned that the PWU was a founding member of the WNCAA and was one of the first schools to have its own private swimming pool and had judo mats. When they began focusing on the arts, nawala yung sports program that was previously run by the PE teachers.”

“We started out with the three-a-side futsal then a few years into the program, the school was convinced they needed a court,” shared Mariel. “We converted the old Bayanihan Paseo into a basketball court that serves as a multi-purpose area for graduation ceremonies and other programs.”

In order to get the futsal program going, Mariel tapped the services of veteran coach Noel Marcaida, himself a former national football player. 

“I asked him if he could help jumpstart our futsal program,” said Benitez-Javellana.“He willingly did and with his mentorship, he has been able to produce four national players — Jay-R Inventor, Alyana Mocorro, Christine Zacarias and Ronald Adalin.”

A fifth player, who was unable to suit up for the Patriots because of some technicality, is Joseph Villarino, who is not only an AFC Level 2 graduate. 

According to Kevin Goco — the Philippine Football Federation’s technical consultant for futsal — the national team’s coach and trainer, Dutch legend Vic Hermans thinks highly of Villarino. 

More than that, the PWU Patriots have won five WNCAA futsal championships, two Men’s NCAA futsal crowns, two UA&P Intercollegiate Futsal Tournament championships, and one Women’s Colleges Sports Association title.

One of the graduates, Jay-R, a recruit of Marcaida, is now the one handling the futsal teams of which he has. And he has had two championships for the men’s and women’s teams.”

But beyond the titles is PWU’s use of the sport of futsal as atool to mold their student athletes. The school made futsal a part of its PE curriculum, their teachers organize regular intramural futsal competitions, and the varsity program offers athletic futsal scholarships to underprivileged players from the Futkal and Gawad Kalinga community based futsal programs.

“The success in sports has added to the holistic development of our students,” summed up Benitez-Javellana. “For the student-athletes, they are able to take it a quality education with the life lessons and values that sports teach. It completes their learning that prepares them for life outside our university.”

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