SOUTHEAST Asian Games women’s bronze medalist Denizelle Ann Rasing loves hockey so much she is not thinking of leaving the sport even after she was removed as a member of the national team by the Larong Hockey sa Pilipinas (LHP).
She is not even thinking of returning to play volleyball — her first sport — again.
“Yun feeling na parang na-in love ka. Napamahal na talaga sa akin ang indoor hockey. Mas naibibigay ko yung best ko kapag naglalaro ng hockey,” said Rasing during the weekly “Usapang Sports on Air” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom last Thursday.
Rasing, who rose to prominence by winning the country’s lone medal in hockey — a bronze — during the 2019 SEA Games, in Los Baños, Laguna, admitted she can’t imagine herself playing volleyball again even in the lucrative and now-pro Premier Volleyball League (PVL).
“Matagal ko na po natanggap na parang iniwan ko yung volleyball nung nag try out ako at nakasama sa national team sa hockey,” explained the 22-year-old Rasing, who played volleyball for two seasons for Emilio Aguinaldo College in the NCAA.
Since becoming a national hockey player, Rasing dreams of helping promote the sport in the country and form a league of their own.
“That’s really our goal. Gusto talaga naming magkakasama na mapalaganap pa lalo ang hockey dito sa ating bansa. Hopefully, magkaroon ng sariling liga dito sa atin, na kung saan mai-share namin ang aming mga skills at experiences as a player,” Rasing told editors and reporters during the public service program sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
“After the SEA Games and before the pandemic, naramdaman namin na ang dami-dami nang gustong mag-join sa hockey. Yun ibang kabataan, gusto na din mag- tryout at maki-training sa amin kahit walang anumang benefits. Talagang madami ang nag-e-enjoy ngayon.”
A BS Psychology graduate at EAC, Rasing claimed she was also surprised to see so many fans during the 2019 SEA Games indoor hockey competition held at the Centro Mall in Laguna.
“Hindi talaga namin inaasahang yun suporta na natanggap namin sa nakalipas na SEA Games, lalo na sa mga taga-Laguna. Akala po namin ay hindi po kami masyadong panonoorin kaya talagang nagulat kami. Ang sarap-sarap ng feeling na madaming nagsasabing may potensyal tayo sa hockey.”
Rasing’s life-long dream, however, is facing a rough stretch.
Last month, the five-man SHP board disbanded the national team in what former SHP secretary-general Jing Arroyo called as “unfair decision.”
Among those left holding empty bags are Rasing and men’s national hockey team captain Marvin Lianza.
“Gusto po naming makabalik sa team dahil naghirap po kami at alam namin na masyado pang maaga para umalis sa hockey, lalo na napamahal na din ito sa amin,” explained Rasing.
“As a team, ang dami na naming challenges na hinarap na sama-sama. I think this is another challenge na kailangan naming daanan dahil gusto naming mag-represent ng country.”
One of her early sacrifices was playing volleyball and hockey during college at the same time.
“In 2017, pinag-tryout kami sa hockey tapos nakuha naman. Nag dual event kami kaya training sa umaga ng hockey at training sa hapon ng volleyball. Then dumating yun time na kailangan na ding mag focus sa volleyball kaya I have to decide. Pati yun scholarship hindi sigurado. So we took the risk of choosing between volleyball and hockey. And luckily, nabigyan din naman ng scholarship.”
Asked about her plans in the immediate future, Rasing can’t think of anything else but hockey.
“Gusto ko pa din talagang maglaro ng hockey at ma-represent ng bansa. Sana maayos na ang lahat ng problema at maibalik na kami sa national team,” remarked Rasing.