PASA brings home first place trophy

Kris Stewart,
Managing Editor

Hashtags, retweets and favorites, oh my —  as the Twitter timelines blew up with cheers and congratulations when Cal State East Bay’s Pilipino American Student Association, PASA, took home the first place trophy at the 30th annual Friendship Games, the largest Filipino-American gathering event in the nation.

Hosted by Cal State Fullerton, the Friendship Games, which began in 1985, feature more than 40 Filipino American Student organizations from college campuses in California, Nevada and Arizona. The event centers around competitive games designed to celebrate spirit, pride, unity, friendship, camaraderie, and Filipino culture, though participants don’t have to be Filipino to participate.

“This year emotions ran high, and all the players, coaching staff and SPUF chanters felt it as all the hard work and legacy of the past of PASA of CSUEB finally came to fruition,” said Arvin Garcia, external vice president of PASA. “If it wasn’t for our coaching staff led by Mariz Revilleza and Matt Problente, we wouldn’t have gotten the trophy we have.”

If it wasn’t for our coaching staff led by Mariz Revilleza and Matt Problente, we wouldn’t have gotten the trophy we have

Five race-format games are played each year. “Alpine Green” starts with two big sticks aligned next to each other with four straps on each stick. Once the whistle blows, four players jump on the sticks sticking through the straps. The person in back holds on to the person in front of them and it creates a chain to the front. The leader screams instructions to their team, like “Ready, one, two left right left right,” and the team follows suit. The objective of the game is to move as a unit to the finish line.

The event is like a picnic, with games like The Nasty, Big Groundhog, Thread the Needle, and Conveyor Belt. The top three teams continue on to the Final Rampage. Winners of the final rampage take home an eight-foot-tall trophy — which this year belongs to CSUEB.

Co-head coach Mariz Rivelleza has competed in the games for five years. After winning, she waved the banner over runner ups Cal State Fullerton and Sonoma State.

“Coming home to the Bay Area with the first place trophy meant the world to us,” Rivelleza said. After all of the years of heartbreak that we’ve seen and felt, all the years of blood, sweat and tears just to come up empty handed, to finally taking the trophy home to East Bay was definitely the best college experience of my life,” she said.

After attending the group’s meetings and events and competing in the games for five years, co-head coach Matt Poblete calls the people he has met in the group his family away from home.

Tweaks and adjustments were made to their normal game plan to strategize for the games. Poblete says they learned from past experiences with game veterans. He comments that his team showed heart, energy, discipline and confidence.

“I know how much it meant to PASA to gain a friendship games title and I’m honored to help administrate the experience to everybody who helped participate as well as everybody who has competed for us in the past,” Poblete said.

“Finally winning is an amazing feeling and I’m still going through the emotions of it all,” said Poblete. “I love the fact that this event really brings people together as a family.”