Comrade In Arms

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Comrade In Arms
Nathaniel T. Dela Cruz
Atlas Sports Issue 1509

What can be stronger than a brotherhood forged in steel?

Businessmen and brothers Jeufro Emil Roel L. Lejano and Jerome Jovanne “Jayjay” de Leon Morales both started shooting at a very young age, and their careers since then are surely aren’t about shooting blanks.

But behind the many accolades and accomplishments they have tucked under their belts that made them heroes to other shooters are real life idols that inspired them: their mom and their brotherhood.

Despite the fact that it was his mother than inspired Jayjay to shoot, he is nowhere near the prototype weakling mama’s boy, having had numerous accomplishments in the fine art of shooting.

The P.B. Dionisio Gun Club mainstay already participated in World Shoot in Cebu and South Africa.

“My most memorable shooting experience is during the World Shoot Brazil, because it’s my first World shoot,” said the Jayjay, who holsters a competition gun Glock-17 but also keeps an SPS .38super and a CZ-75.

“My brother Jerome influenced me to take this sport,” said Jayjay’s 26-year-old younger brother Jeufro, a veteran of 400 competitions worldwide who is on his fourth World Shoot in August.

Being almost 10 years older than Jeufro, Jayjay, born on November 5, 1969 , is no doubt the quintessential ‘kuya’, inspiring his younger brother into a sport that develops a person’s sense of maturity and responsibility.

Born on June 18, 1978, Lejano, who packs an SPS 40cal with OKO Optics and Armscor ammunition, started shooting in 1990. The soon-to-be national team player who looks up at Jethro Dionisio and Jerry Barnhart was in perfect target since then.

“I have competed in many Level III competitions that I cannot remember anymore exactly how many,” said Lejano, “but my favorite award was during the 1999 World Shoot in Cebu where we won the men’s open division team and my most memorable shooting experience was when I won my first international award in Fresno, California,” he added.

Jayjay and Jeufro are set to join their Philippine Practical Shooting Association (PPSA) shooter-comrades in defending the country’s crown in the World Shoot XIV in Ecuador on August 2005.

Joining the brothers are Nelson Uygongco, Joseph Sy and Lyndon Biraogo (modified division), Rosendo Castro, Jr., Winston Amigo Chan and Danny Torrevillas (production division), veteran shooters Benjie Belarmino, Rommel Canlas, Alex Lao and Marlon Valencia (standard division) and young guns Michael Ku, Christian Panganiban, Blairwin Ortega and LJ de la Cruz (Open Division). Lady shooter Mary Grace Tan and her father Roland Tan are slated in the Ladies Open and Senior Open respectively while Iloilo pride Philipp Chua qualified in the Revolver division and Nolito Labroma in the Senior Standard Division

Lejano will be competing in the modified division while Morales will shoot in the production class.

With the full support of International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) Regional Director Congressman Juan C. Ponce Enrile Jr., the PPSA Board designated eight Level III matches and the best six finishes of each aspirant from the eight qualifier matches have served as the basis for the selection process for the Philippine Team slots.

The first qualifier match was the Bolo Tuason Cup held at the Armscor Range in Marikina City where some 300 shooters competed including foreign participants from Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the United States. The next qualifier match was in Surigao City last July 15 to 17 where Governor Robert Lyndon S. Barbers together with the Practical Shooting Association of Surigao hosted the three-day competition. The remaining Level III qualifier matches were held in Koronadal City, Ormoc City, Clark Pampanga, Baguio City, Pangasinan and Iloilo City.

The final hurdle of the qualifying matches was held last January 27-29 during the PPSA Nationals at the Tierra del Fuego Firing Range in Splendido Taal, Batangas. Philippine Team Selection and Training Committee Chairman and Coach Jojo Naranjilla and PPSA Area Director Vic Mangibin announced the final composition of Team Philippines that will be sent to Ecuador during the awarding ceremonies.

Naranjilla, who started shooting in1979 and a World Shoot member since 1986 from shooter to coach, has been the country’s shooting mentor in the 1993-World Shoot London, 1996-World Shoot Brazil, 1999-World Shoot Cebu, 2002-World Shoot South Africa and in various European and US Nationals.

The PPSA had a successful title-defense of its crown in Indonesia and in Cebu in the Australasian Championships.