She left Davao City filled with doubts on her capabilities. On Sunday, Jezebel Morcillo became a Southeast Asian Games champion.
The Dabawenya arnisador from Barangay Bucana tested her fate in the Philippine Arnis Team six months ago with no guarantee what lies ahead on her chosen path.
The doubts were all washed out after she conquered the women’s bantamweight division to win the gold medal in the arnis competition at the Angeles University Foundation in Clark, Pampanga.
“Grabe kalipay kay nakuha nako ang gold medal after 6 months of hard training,” the 24-year old said.
Her golden finish completed the Philippine Arnis Team’s five gold medal haul in day one to help the country continue its dominance in the medal race.”Na pressure ko kay tanan naa sa men’s division na teammates nako naka gold, tapos ako ang pinaka una mu dula sa women’s division,” Morcillo shared.
Morcillo subdued a tough Vietnamese foe in the gold medal match right after annihilating a Cambodian stick fighter.
“Vietnam gyud amoang gi expect na kusog kay nag prepare gyud pud sila para ani,” Morcillo said.
Despite the unforgiving pressure, the Dabawenya was completely inspired after finally seeing the people she missed the most for the past six months–her family who was watching and cheering at the sidelines.
“Nalipay kaayo ko sir kay naa akoang pamilya. Namiliti pa sila para lang makaabot diri para mutanaw sa akoa,” the emotional Morcillo said.
Fighting in her home soil, said Morcillo, was already a vast advantage but the listening to the Filipinos cheer was indeed “morale boosting”.”Grabe ka lami sa feeling madungog ang cheer sa Pilipino kay nag supporta jud sila sa amoa.”
But before she relished her biggest achievement so far, Morcillo had to go through the toughest six months of her arnis career.
She admitted that arnis was really tough and obviously not the best sport for a petite lady like her.
Morcillo recalled her rigid training with the Philippine team that was made even harder with the emergence of homesickness.”Tung first month nako sir, adlaw adlaw ko naga hilak. Bisan naga sparring mi, naga hilak ko kay namiss nako akoang family,” narrated Morcillo.
One time, she wanted to go home but realized that she came a long way only to give up. Thus, she opted to stay.
With a gold medal hanging on her neck, Morcillo thanked God for her strength, her family for the inspiration, her teammates and coaches for the motivation and the Filipino people for the support.