Joey Romasanta: A life dedicated to sports

Jose “Joey’ Romasanta spent a big part of his life  as a sportsman. He was an athlete, sports official, an administrator and a leader.

Like most young Pinoys, Romasanta played basketball in high school in San  Beda College. Although he did not make the grade as varsity player,  he was always tapped for the school’s training  squad.

He was also a track athlete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, taking part in 100 and 200-meter sprints at the then cinder track oval at the  Rizal Memorial Track Oval during the 70s.

A resident of Caloocan, Romasanta and his family later moved to Tarlac, where he  organized juniors and seniors team which saw action in several tournametns in the province, signalling the start of what could be a long career as a sports organzer.

Romasanta lived in Tarlac during the time of insurgency in the countryside, but he saw sports as a way to bring peace among opposite sides.

 “Napakalaking bagay ng sports noon  dahil dito ay di kami ginugulo ng ‘Huk at sumasali pa nga sila sa  kumpetisyon”, said Joey,  who was then the youngest Personnel Manager of Hacienda Luisita at 23.

He organized exhibition games led by the Clark Field Diplomats after he was assigned as Provincial Coordinator of Clark Field.

In 1986, when the EDSA revolution swept Cory Aquino into power following the assasination of Ninoy Aquino, a native of Tarlac, the newly-minted president appointed Romasanta as Executive Director of  the Project Gintong Alay vacated by Marcos kin Michael Keon.

“That was a hassle free position  where Gintong Alay and yours truly have common goal with then Philippine Olympic Committee head Jose Sering.That was also the glory days in abundance of talents that are gems and pride of the country like Asia’s fastest woman Lydia De Vega,Isidro del Prado etc in athletics, Samboy Lim ,Alvin Patrimonio,Jerry Codinera, Hector Calma among others in basketball that finished second to host Korea  in Asian Games,” said Romasanta.

After his stint as chief of Gintong Alay, Romasanta was summoned by the Cojuangcos to manage Jose Cojuangco and Sons ,Inc in Makati City.

But that proved to be temporary as he returned to sports as a member of the national Olympic family when former Tarlac Congressman Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco of equestrian was voted via acclamation as president of the Philippine Olympic Committee president replacing Celso Dayrit of fencing in 2004.

Romasanta became Peping’s alter ego in the POC. After Cojuangco was reelected four years after,  Romasanta, the proud father of Joseph Steve and Patricia (both are age groupers in national tennis scene and the better half of wife Virginia Castro Romasanta,was voted as Philippine Karatedo[NSA] president that made him Chef de Mission in 2010 Guangzhow Asian Games. That also qualified him to run as  POC vice President and won convincingly during Cojuangcos third term in 2012.

‘Sports has been very good to me and my family. Steve and Joseph who are good tennis players helped them to where are they now from studies to being professionals in Singapore and Thailand respectively. I can say at this juncture  that I’m  a fulfilled person and whatever is my role in sports now is my  payback time,” Romasanta said who, like most Filipinos, dream that the country wins its first-ever Olympic gold medal.

A golf enthusiast, Romasanta  is now focused in helping to solve national sports associations with leadership problens, the latest being in volleyball, where he helped unite the  stakeholders to unite in one national federation that is sactioned by the International federation and the world governing body in volleyball.

There is a strong clamor for Romasanta to lead the NSA in volleyball but he declined and gave way to others he thought are more deserving.

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