By Dino Balabo
MALOLOS CITY—The Bulacan State University (BulSU) will defend their 17th over-all championship in the annual State Colleges and Universities Athletic Association (SCUAA) in Central Luzon.
The annual sports competition that started Sunday is hosted by the Ramon Magsaysay Technological University in Iba, Zambales. It will end on Friday.
As reigning over-all cham-pions for the past 16 straight years, the BulSU Gold Gears will be challenged by athletes from Aurora State College of Technology (Ascot), Bataan Peninsula State University (BPSU), Bulacan Agriculture State College (BASC), Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology (NEUST), Pampanga College of Agriculture (PAC), Tarlac State University (TSU), Tarlac College of Agriculture (TCA).
Also competing are athletes from Don Honorio Ventura Technological State University (DHVTSU) in Pampanga, Ramon Magsaysay Technological University (RMTU) in Zambales, Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA) in Bataan, Central Luzon State University (CLSU) in Nueva Ecija, and the Philippine State College of Aeronautics (PhilsCA) in Pampanga.
“We are ready to defend our title because our athletes are working hard all year round,” said Dr. Mariano De Jesus, the president of BulSU.
He said that BulSU owes its strong performance in the annual SCUAA-III to its sports program.
De Jesus said that many years ago they started recruiting athletes and placed them under a scholarship program and even provided a dormitory for members of the BulSU Gold gears.
The program was hailed by Dr. Danily Hilario, BulSU vice president for external affairs, research and extension.
He said that the BulSU Gold Gears has dominated the SCUAA-III by winning at least 140 gold medals.
BulSU’s dominance is only challenged by the BPSU which used to place second, harvesting some 20 gold medals during the five-day meet.
Also, football is expected to take center stage during the games as the sport continues to gain popularity.
Emmanuel Robles, the head coach of BulSU’s football team said they expect stronger competition this year.
“Every team wants to dethrone us defending champions,” said Robles who also coached the FutBulakenyos that won the first Central Luzon Football League (CLFL) championship last July.
This champion team has retained at least nine of its players last year, and is expected to provide a stiff challenge to the other participating teams this year.