What makes a champion? Who Got Balls athletes share their answers

March 4, 2021


Athletes don't become successful overnight. It takes a lot of hard work, patience, sacrifice, and many failures before they can achieve success. However, since what’s usually highlighted in the public eye are the career peaks, we tend to forget that there are valleys that must be climbed before reaching the top. But now we have the opportunity to witness an athlete’s journey from the very beginning with the sports docuseries Who Got Balls. And as we have mentioned before, these athlete’s stories tell us that there’s no single formula to becoming a champion

Every episode shares a unique tale of triumph with each athlete defining what it means to be a champion in their own way. Let’s go through them below. 




A champion can control their reaction to any situation. Cariaso shares, “When it doesn't go your way, it's really how you handle it after. How you respond, how you get up. Staying disciplined when you don't feel like practicing. Even if you lose today, you still go home and come back stronger tomorrow.” Watch Jeffrey Cariaso’s episode to find out how he became a fixture in the PBA. 



A champion powers through disappointment and faces failure with dignity. Alyssa just kept trying her best and improving her performance. She shares, “You should humbly accept yung mga talo rin. Wala rin ako kilala na naging successful na hindi nag-fail, na walang mga talo. Sa mga masasakit na talo na yun. Actually, doon tayo maraming natutunan...to fight and fail better and be the best that we can be.” Watch Alyssa Valdez' episode to learn more about her life. 



A champion manages impulses and makes difficult choices that are helpful in the long run. In order to pursue his pole-vaulting career, EJ had to move away from his family, friends, and everything familiar. Obiena shares, “The more you give attention and the more you give time to something, the better the result will be. So there are sacrifices [that need to be made], if you want to achieve something better.” Watch EJ Obiena’s episode to find out how he copes with being away from home.



A champion doesn’t let society dictate their choices in life because they stay true to their passion. Sisi Rondina’s shorter stature compared to other players didn’t stop her from playing volleyball. Rondina shares, “Nakita ko lang na hindi pala nagma-matter yung physical size. [Mas mahalaga ang] laki ng puso at kung paano maglaro. Kung alam mong kaya mo ilaban, ilaban mo!” Watch Sisi Rondina’s episode to see her in action.



A champion will take every chance they can get to pursue their chosen career. Landrigan shares, “I see every wave as an opportunity and every wipeout as a challenge. So na-aapply ko yun sa life ko, parang lahat naman tayo may dumarating na opportunities here and there, so it's up to us. Then every time we fall down, every time we make a mistake or fail, we just keep on trying again.” Watch Luke Landrigan’s episode to see how he surfs through waves and life.



A champion is patient and keeps going because they trust the process. Yulo shares, “Para sakin, ang meaning ng champion ay hindi sumusuko. It takes time talaga na dumating yung para sa’yo. ’Pag hindi mo siya nagagawa, nakaka-frustrate kasi ang hirap, pero ’pag inisip mo may bukas pa. Kailangan accept mo yun. Hindi mo man magawa o hindi mo man [kayanin], manalo o matalo, importante yung tina-try mo pa rin yung best mo sa lahat kasi marami ka matutunan kapag di ka humihinto.” Watch Carlos Yulo’s episode to see his impressive work ethic while training in Japan.



A champion values consistency, commitment, and perseverance when preparing for competitions. As Ochoa explains further, “Para sa akin ang pagiging champion ay hindi lang about winning medals...it's so much more than that. Number one is yung journey mo towards the fight. Paano ka ba naghanda? Ginawa mo na ba lahat? Kasi yung mga pagdadaanan mong challenges and yung obstacles na lalagpasan mo doon sa preparation period, that is part of making [yourself] a champion.” Watch Meggie Ochoa’s episode to follow her Jiu-Jitsu journey.



A champion is never complacent about their performance and always strives to be better every single day. Casugay shares, “Determination. Always achieve the best of yourself and keep working for your goals and dreams.” Watch Roger Casugay’s episode as he talks about surfing, family, and life by the sea. 



A champion knows the importance of discipline, never coasting on natural talent alone. As Pingris shares, “Hindi enough yung talento, kailangan dagdagan pa ng hard work. Hindi naman overnight na makukuha mo yan. Kailangan talaga pag-tiyagaan mo. Kung may dream kayo or may gusto kayo ma-achieve sa sarili niyo, kailangan talaga pag-hirapan.” Watch Marc Pingris’ episode to learn more about the basketball player’s work ethic.



A champion never gives up and never surrenders to defeat. Petecio shares, “Kahit matalo ka or matumba ka, ma-knock out ka pa ng paulit-ulit, tumatayo pa rin ako nang tumatayo para lumaban.” Watch Nesthy Petecio’s episode to find out what it takes to become a boxing champion.  

For more inspiration, you can watch the first season of Who Got Balls for free on TrueID. 

So how would you define a champion?

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