VSU ROTC Games 2024

Our very own Taekwondo players Kerby Emperado and Lean Kristoff Abarientos secured two major awards in the Philippine Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Games 2024 Visayas Regional Qualifying Leg held in Bacolod City, Negros.

Emperado finished as a gold medalist under the merged Welterweight and Heavyweight Categories, while Abarientos earned the silver medal in Bantamweight, respectively.

“There are weight categories in taekwondo. Specifically, I am in the bantam category while Kerby is in the open category. For me, my weight category relies on speed and agility as my opponents and I are on the lighter side of the scale. So playing offensively relies on fast and precise strikes while playing defensively relies on quick reaction time and effective counters,” Abarientos shared.

In an interview, Emperado, a computer science student revealed that he could not recall how he won the game. 

“It’s a bit difficult to describe how I felt after winning. I don’t even remember how the game played out and scored points, I just played the rounds,” the taekwondo gold medalist disclosed.

Meanwhile, Abarientos, a biology student mentioned that despite not winning the gold, he still feels grateful for clinching the silver medal, which encourages him to train harder.

“I won my first fight but lost to the second. It would have been nice to win both fights and get the gold medal, but there’s always next time. As they say, you can’t win every fight. Looks like I just need to train harder.” 

“When I joined Taekwondo, I never knew I would even get this far. I just wanted to either beat people up or be beaten up in a competitive setting. I joined the ROTC Games because well I could, not because I’d expect a medal at the end. To be honest. I think I even expected myself to lose. But in the end, I got what I wanted and so much more, and I couldn’t be happier,” he added.

Both acknowledge the presence and support of Ms. Ma. Jonabhel Octaviano and Mr. Marlon Dampios, their coaches who accompanied them in this event.

“I would like to thank my mother for allowing me to participate in this competition where a small mistake can result in an injury. Special mention to my coach and instructor who guided and ensured I was well-fed. To my friends who supported [me],” Emperado said.

“I would like to thank the whole VSU ROTC Unit for supporting us, giving us a budget, and of course, the opportunity to compete despite all the complications that happened. They put their trust in us to carry the name of not just the VSU ROTC Unit but the entire VSU itself,” Abarientos stated. “Also a thank you to both Coach Jonabhel Octaviano for coaching me in the actual event and Sir Marlon Dampios for guiding Kerby and me throughout the ROTC Games.”

Abarientos also highlighted how his previous coaches in different schools have helped him in his taekwondo journey.

“I would also like to thank all the coaches I was under during my 10-year journey in Taekwondo. Thank you Coach Michael Realista for starting my Taekwondo journey 10 years ago. The first one to get to care about sports in the first place and appreciate the art of sparring. Thank you Coach Glenda Lava for improving my sparring skills even further and even getting me to appreciate Poomsae. And finally, thank you Coach Ralph Buen for not only just getting me back to my usual self in Taekwondo after quitting for a while, but he even helped me surpass my previous self which got me to the position I am today. 3 coaches, 3 different schools, 3 learning points.”

The ROTC Games is organized by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Department of National Defense (DND), and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to promote the ROTC program while molding the youth on holistic development and sportsmanship.


There were 1,938 participants in the ROTC Games Visayas Leg who competed in arnis, athletics, boxing, chess, e-sports, sepak takraw, taekwondo, table tennis, volleyball, basketball, target shooting, raiders competition, swimming, and Miss ROTC pageant.

The event ran from May 26, 2024, until June 1, 2024, and is anchored on the theme, “Husay ng ROTC, Husay ng Kabataan”.

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