Comeback season: Meet your returning SDO chief
Originally published from HF Volume 36 Issue 3
Vigorous training, fiery sports competitions, passionate athletes, and loud green-and-white crowds. After a two-year hiatus, we are finally one step closer from again experiencing the usual staples of collegiate sports in DLSU-D, with the appointment of a Sports Development Office (SDO) coordinator who will lead the University’s comeback into the sports limelight.
As he sets foot once again into his home court, The HERALDO FILIPINO meets and sits down with the returning SDO chief: Mr. Gerardo Sergio.
Back to the office
Prior to his appointment as the SDO coordinator, Sergio sat as the director of the Materials Management and Ancillary Services Office (MAMASO). His previous responsibilities were handling the purchasing office, warehouse, dorm, sports facilities, among others. But being appointed to the SDO didn’t come strange for Sergio, having served as the SDO director back in 2007 to 2014. For the returning SDO chief, it was not coming to a new turf — it was coming back home.
Within his seven-year term in the office, Sergio had his moment of glory as he managed the DLSU-D into becoming the top University in the regional sports scene. The Patriots would always dominate the provincial competitions with numerous titles, while most delegates for regional sports events also came from DLSU-D. During his time, there had also been international stint for some Patriot athletes in the likes of Jennifer Manzano who represented the country in beach volleyball in the 27th Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russia in 2013.
Above all these accomplishments, the former SDO director takes most pride in the athletes themselves who, even after their collegiate sports journey, have dominated the sports scene. Among them is Alnakran “Ran” Abdilla who not only seized numerous local recognitions, but has also secured two Southeast Asian (SEA) Games medals under his tenacious spikes. Names like Iari Yongco and Al-Frazin Alduwahab, in addition, made their way among some popular athletes in Philippine volleyball as they competed with them in Shakey’s V-League and Spiker’s Turf during their time.
However, as Lasallian administrators only have a maximum of seven years in their respective posts, Sergio was left with no choice but to leave the office in 2014. Now returning back to his ‘comfort’ office starting this academic year (AY), these milestones set under his term are just some of the things Sergio aims to input to the new breed of DLSU-D sports, considering the challenges that the pandemic had posed. “Madami pa tayong gustong mangyari. This pandemic leveled the playing field, so lahat back to zero. No’ng term ko (as the SDO director), pinagyayabang kong ‘yong school natin is number one in the region. Pero ngayon ay sabay-sabay magsisimula ulit, so may kaunting challenge pero I’m excited,” Sergio told The HERALDO FILIPINO.
Transition to the new post
Same office but with a new role—this is something that the previous SDO director has to deal with in light of the new coordinator position. While directorial responsibilities delve more into human resource management, budget, athletes, and overall matters related to the office, coordinatorship presents a mixture of the same and new roles. Now, Sergio’s post would mainly involve planning, coordination, and requisition for budgets, hearings, and the likes.
Due to this, people would often ask Sergio why his position as the former SDO director has been downgraded. But for him, names and labels did not matter as long as he got back the job that he considered home. He reiterated, “Okay lang, position lang naman (ang nag-iba). ‘Yan talaga yung forte ko, ‘yong sports management. ‘Yan talaga yung mahal natin(g trabaho).”
Reminiscing and talking about his roots, Sergio seemed like he was truly made for any sports supervision job. Back when he was a kid, he would watch games on television and create or tally his own statistics sheet. “Kinabukasan, iko-compare ko sa newspaper kung tama ‘yong ginawa ko,” a reminiscent Sergio recounted.
Drawing from personal experience, the returning SDO chief also understands what student-athletes go through as he himself used to play basketball and volleyball back in his high school and college days. Not to mention, his management background through his undergraduate and master’s degrees provided him a firm foundation on financial, marketing, and overall sports management tasks.
These were why Sergio did not even hesitate when he was tapped to handle the office for the second time around. He emphasized, “Kung io-offer naman sakin talaga, naghintay lang akong ibalik ulit sa position. Walang masyadong factor akong na-consider (kung tatanggapin ba o hindi) kasi ito talaga ‘yong mahal kong opisina.”
Vision for DLSU-D sports community
When asked for one word to describe how he envisions the DLSU-D sports community under his new term in SDO, the coordinator repeatedly thought of one thing: “empowered.” He sets his sights on bringing back the glory days of the University—to being the top school again in the region when it comes to sports.
Aiming to lead the Patriots back to the global sports scene, Sergio recounted the days when DLSU-D was at the height of joining international leagues under his belt. “Pag-alis ko no’ng 2014 (sa SDO), papunta na kami no’n sa international competitions. During that time, our school was affiliated with the Federation of School Sports Association of the Philippines (FESSAP). Ito yung nagre-represent sa Philippines sa Universiade. Ito yung isa sa mga ini-envision ko—more international exposure to our athletes,” he recalled.
To attain these visions though, Sergio also emphasized the importance of his connection to other sectors of the University. He believes that the best sports programs are not just produced by the sports office alone, but a collaborative effort of the whole Lasallian community.
Five-year development plan
Apart from continuous collaboration with various sectors in the University, Sergio is well-aware that step-by-step plans and processes are what they need to finally return to the sports limelight. To make this possible, the SDO chief disclosed that he is crafting a five-year sports development plan that first aims to restore athlete training, recruitments, and participation in local competitions. When DLSU-D finally gets back into its track, this is the time where Sergio will bolster the University’s presence in both national and international sports events.
To embark on the development program, the priority of the new SDO head is to bring back the training to normal and onsite setup. He stated, “‘Yong trainings ay ina-allow ng CHED pero madaming restrictions. Almost all (schools) sa region ay nahihirapan to meet those requirements. But we, the sports heads in the region, are confident that the rules given by the CHED will be relaxed. And by that time, ‘pag nangyari ‘yon, we can go back to training sa lahat ng sports.”
However, Sergio acknowledges the fact that all these plans will only be accomplished once the finances for sports are secured. As of press time, he shared that budget proposals are still pending for approval by the administration. SDO, meanwhile, is working on sponsorships for additional funds, as Sergio believes that the office cannot rely on the budget given by the University alone.
In the meantime, the new SDO coordinator said he already talked to some of the possible coaches regarding the future sports programs and tryouts that are targeted to resume under full capacity once everything is set in stone.
With Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), Premier Volleyball League (PVL), University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and all other national sports leagues returning back from two-year suspension since the COVID-19 pandemic, all eyes are on the DLSU-D sports community as we wait and see whether it can be brought back from hiatus sooner just like them. Now, the University has taken one significant step that will hopefully inch us closer back to what we’ve missed.
As our new SDO Coordinator Gerardo Sergio reminds, “Sa athletes, kaunting hintay na lang. And to the sports community, we need all your support dito sa program natin. Sana magsama-sama tayo dito sa all efforts na magagawa ng SDO.”