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Sports

Olympics means legacy for Bianca

Joaquin Henson - The Philippine Star
Olympics means legacy for Bianca
Bianca Pagdanganan
STAR / file

TOKYO – When Bianca Pagdanganan tees off to make her Olympic debut in Round 1 of women’s golf at the Kasumigaseki Country Club in Saitama tomorrow, it will be to establish a legacy for the love of the game, country and family.

“It’s a privilege and blessing to be a part of the ultimate stage, to showcase her gifts and skills no matter the outcome, to represent our country and forever be called an Olympian,” said Pagdanganan’s father Sam who is her constant companion, coach, adviser and personal driver. After Tokyo, father and daughter plan to go back to their base in Temecula, California then she plays the remaining events in the LPGA tour until November. Sam said he hopes his wife Bing and their two other children Carlos and Ines are able to join them for Christmas in the US.

TRACKER: Bianca Pagdanganan at the Tokyo Olympics

Ever since Pagdanganan was a junior golfer, her father had the same advice before every round of golf and it won’t be different tomorrow. “I’ve always texted or messaged Bianca to be patient, stay focused and have lots of fun,” said Sam. “All the advice and work to be done are talked about during practices before her game. The drive going to the course and the hours before a game are more of a quiet time for her.”

Sam, a golfer himself, said his daughter discovered the sport at seven. “Bianca got interested when she would go with me to the driving range,” he recalled. “She was so amused at how far the ball could go, took up the game, practiced hard and began beating me when she was 11. I clearly remember it was during Father’s Day and we did match play with my two other children as the marshals and caddies. She sent me home after sinking a bunker birdie on the 17th hole. No mercy even on Father’s Day.” Sam went to Claret high school in Quezon City and is a licensed civil engineer from UST. He’s been involved in the construction business the last 30 years.

Pagdanganan said she never expected to play in the Olympics so soon after it was reinstated in the calendar in 2016. It’s been her dream to become an Olympian since her Assumption Antipolo high school days. Her dream will officially come true tomorrow.

Sam isn’t the only father with a son or daughter here. The country’s other Olympic golfer Yuka Saso is also with her father Masakazu. Pole vaulter EJ Obiena is with his father Emerson, a two-time SEA Games medalist who assists Ukrainian coach Vitaly Petrov. Shooter Jayson Valdez competed in 10-meter air rifle with his father Julius at the sidelines. As the saying goes, father knows best.

BIANCA PAGDANGANAN
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