"To surpass the record of NCR (National Capital region) is too tough to achieve," Japos told Mindanao-based sports journalists Saturday night.
"Our objective is to improve our showing last year in Koronadal," added Japos, who declared that DAVRAA athletes are all primed up to compete as the multi-sport events for elementary and secondary goes full blast Monday.
He wished DAVRAA to land within the top five, both in the elementary and secondary class. Davao Region, the 2003 secondary champion, placed seventh in both divisions last year, which was held in Koronadal City, South Cotabato.
Japos said there is no question that the Big City has been winning the over-all crown given that "they are getting our best players (and) also those from the other provinces".
Davao Region is banking on its boxers, jins, paddlers, booters and cagers to achieve its diminutive goal in the weeklong sports extravaganza which features a total of 42 sport disciplines.
"We are strong in boxing and we also have a good chance in football, in elementary and high school, table tennis, tennis and basketball," said Japos
Davao Region swept the five gold medals at stake in boxing last year wherein the Big City athletes stamped their class to capture the crown in both divisions. Japos was confident in winning all the matches again and that they will still hold their record in boxing.
Led by brothers John Vincent and Engelbert Moralde, the five-man boxing team
is all primed up to do battle and defend the title.
The Moralde brothers will be joined by Jerwin Alcajas, Mark Anthony Barriga and Glen Canteveros. They be will facing tough challengers from NCR, Western Visayas, Central Visayas and Central Mindanao.
DAVRAA thrower Adrian Linao will try to clinch the meet's first gold medal in athletics when he sees action in the secondary boys javelin throw 7 a.m. at the Ramon V. Mitra Sports Complex.
Hoping to give DAVRAA two gold medals on Day 1 is jumper Rmjay Carado, who
will compete in secondary boys long jump and triple jump.
With 632 athletes and officials, the NCR is fully prepared to defend its title as the "Ultimate Champion" of the Palarong Pambansa April 20-26.
Year-round trainings, inclusion of sports into their basic curriculum, spotting star players from Grade 3 up to secondary level all over the region and monitoring all the selected best players to represent their region were the preparations done by the NCR for this year's Palaro.
"It is a big challenge on our part to defend our title. We have to prepare and practice well," says Dr. Flordeliza Magday, officer-in-charge of the assistant director's office of the Department of Education in the NCR. (Rico Biliran / MindaNews)