DLSU Trackster Pach Unso: On his mark
Published on April 25th, 2017 | by George Bryan Aladin
Young college athletes dream to reach the top and bring honor, not only to their name but also to their school, and country. That’s how things went for Pach Unso. Everything that he dreamed of came to him like a lightning bolt. It took him years to prepare but in an instant, he got everything in one hit. He was a successful contributor to La Salle’s sports legacy, playing both for the De La Salle University (DLSU)Tracksters and the Philippine team.
Being inspired and motivated by the legends of Track and Field including his father, former national hurdles record holder Renato Unso, he showed the sporting world in what he can do, and he did it with grace and dominance.
For a kid whose first sport was basketball, it did not took him long to realize his true calling. He started playing athletics at grade 5 and admitted that he tried other sports but it was track and field that made him felt that passion burning.
Asked on who was his biggest inspiration, he replied, “’Yung dad ko siyempre, kasi Southeast Asian record holder siya, nung nakita ko yung mga videos at clips niya, na-inspire ako na tumakbo rin.” Besides his father, the young athlete also looks up to other track and field greats such as 2008 Olympic gold medallist, Dayron Robles of Cuba and Olympic record holder, Liu Xiang of China.
He also praised Filipino athletes during his father’s era, especially the methods that they used for conditioning during that time. “Pero hanga ako talaga noong time ng dad ko, sila Lydia Devega at Isidro Del Prado. Kasi doon mo makikita konti yung science, konti yung nutrition, not like yung other teams pero world-class pa rin yung athletes,” he added.
After a successful high school career, Pach Unso quickly focused on the next chapter of his young athletic life in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), and he quickly climbed up the ranks as he won the Most Valuable Player award in his rookie year. Although he won the MVP plum, he failed to win the Rookie of the Year because of issues regarding his residency. “Hindi ako nag-Rookie of the year, kasi unfortunately, nag-residency kami at hindi kami wi-naive ng UST, so nag-residency ako ng first year ko at nakalaro lang ako ng UAAP noong second year ko,” Unso said.
As a college student of DLSU, he exclaimed that he is a student first before anything else. Being a student and an athlete is already hard enough, but he still makes sure to manage both very well. “Never naman ako nagpabaya ng studies kasi consistent Dean’s lister ako, kahit noon, nasa top-section ako, kasi student-athletes kami eh, student first bago athlete, kasi hindi ko naman kaya tumakbo forever, kaya dapat ma-build ang career ko,” he ended.
Come playing time, he motivates himself by remembering his blessings that he have, and preparing himself mentally for the games. “Remembering where I got my talents from and that is from God at kailangan ko ipakita at gamitin yung binigay niya sa akin na talent so yun yung main motivation ko,” he said.
Asked about on what makes training fun, he quickly said his teammates and that they always make training day interesting and memorable. “Mahirap kasi training ng track eh, ginagawa naming para ma-hype yung mood, once in a while nakikipag-kulitan ako,” Unso mentioned. He then added, “Siyempre, kailangan din ng kulitan kasi magiging boring yung training pag wala yun.”
Prior to his UAAP debut, he saw nothing in his athletic career but to train hard and push his limit. He also challenged himself to train for beating his own personal records for him to get better as he progresses.
For the way his coaches prepared him, they not only trained him physically but also mentally as they helped him balance both his track career and his academics. “Sila yung main motivators namin, we are students first before athletes, kasi kung bumagsak ka, wala rin eh, hindi ka makakalaro. At sa track, sila yung guide at sila yung naging second dad sa team, grabe yung alaga nila sa amin,” He ended.
Before he broke the UAAP record in hurdles, he previously broke the record in the Philippines as well as his own father’s record that he looked up many years prior and served as the inspiration on what he is today. He proudly said, “Na-break ko yung record ng Philippines when I was 19 years old during my first Southeast Asian Game and actually before that, na-break ko na yung record ng dad ko sa isang national game.”
As he broke the UAAP record, not only did he see his own improvements but the evolution of the sport itself. “Nung na-break yung UAAP record, sobrang saya ko kasi nakikita ko yung improvements ko from before at saka yung improvement ng sport kasi passion ko talaga itong sport na ito.”
Years later, EJ Obiena broke his own record, but instead of envy, Unso felt happy for Obiena and that proved the evolution of the sport. He mentioned, “Syempre masaya pa rin, kasi makikita mo yung evolution ng track and field at yung naka-break ng record nakita ko naman yung paghihirap niya, at talagang effort yun.”
When the time came that he competed and won bronze in the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore, his feelings sky-rocketed as it exceeded beyond his own expectations. He also believed that the Lord truly prepared him on that day. “Naiyak ako noon, kasi in perfect condition ako and yung mind ko as in sobrang ready ako, talagang hinanda ako ni Lord, first time kong umiyak sa kahit anong achievement ko.” He ended.
As he finished his track and field career in the UAAP he now looks on to finishing his course in medicine in pursuing his goal to be a doctor in the future. “Ngayon med-school na lang, titingnan ko pa kung i-pupursue ko pa yung track career pero med-school talaga yung priority ko.” He said.
For his teammates in La Salle, they have been part of the amazing ride and gave a short message for them all.
“I want to thank them for making that chapter of my life a lot more meaningful. I want to thank them for the shared hardships, the encouragement, the laughter, the smiles, the tears, the brother/sisterhood, the warmth and for all the amazing memories that I will definitely treasure forever.” He ended.
It was a wild journey for the Green Trackster veteran. He gave pride to the school that shaped his track and field career and made his family, especially his dad proud of his achievements as well. For Unso, winning is sweeter when you work hard for it and that you can achieve anything as long as God is at your side.