Hall-of-Famer and Batangas 1st District Rep. Eric Buhain said the performance of the National BiFin swimming team in the just concluded 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia proved it deserves full support from both the private and public sectors to further boosts its development program particularly in the grassroots level.
Competing for the first time in the regional biennial meet, the eight-man Espinelli Trading-backed national team made it to the finals id their respective events with Palarong Pambansa champion Alexi Cabayaran winning a silver medal in the 200 women bifin breaststroke, clocking 1 minute and 56.49 seconds behind gold medal winner Cambodian Muyni Kaing (1:51.69).
“Raising awareness through regular activities and to encourage all swimming clubs, groups, and organizers to include bifin in their program of events could be a big help for the sports to grow. Maganda ang future natin sa bifin and the recent campaign of our team in Cambodia proved that. Kahit maiksi lang ang naging preparation may contribution sila sa delegation,” said the two-time Olympian who is currently president of the Congress of Philippine Aquatics, Inc. (COPA),
The 15-year-old Cabayaranw, who hailsi from Silay City in Negros Occidental, is one of hundred young swimmers who participated in the Visayas tryouts organized by COPA last February in Bacolod City.
“During training sabi ko sa sarili ko pagbubutihan ko para sa parents ko, maka-bronze lang ako masaya na ako. Kaya nang manalo ako ng silver naiyak po ako sa tuwa, agad ko pong kinausap parents ko sa Messenger. Sabi ko para po sa sakripisyo ninyo ito,” said Cabayaran.
Aside from the incoming Grade 11 at the Trinity Christian School, other members of the team were Renz Santos, Janine De La Paz, Raymund Paloma, Raina Leyran, Kristoff David, Ishaelle Villa, and Troy Castor.
Under the Incentive Act Law, Alexi will have to receive P150,000 but even before the releases of the cash rewards, she will go home with perks to buy her parents a gift as she, along with her teammates and coaches Ramil Ilustre and Agot Alcantara received an ample amount of cash from Buhain.
SEA Games record breaker Xiandi Chua, the most successful swimmers for Team Philippines this edition with one gold, one silver and two bronze medals, also got cash reward from Buhain.