‘3-peat’ win highlights basketball showdown in ‘Tagisang Robotics’

For the third time, Pitogo High School secured the Best Team Award and dominated the playing field of 16 schools anew during the “Tagisang Robotics 2.0” last Nov. 19 and 20 at the Forum 2 of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City. Pitogo High School’s do-it-all robot secured the best win-draw-loss record at the end of eliminations

The erstwhile “Tagisang Robotics: Design, Build and Play” competition, last held in 2014, made a comeback featuring a new game inspired by basketball, which captures the creativity and team spirit of young Filipinos. The competition, which followed football in its previous runs from 2011-2014, sees robots shooting sepak takraw balls in a trajectory towards their respective goals.

The robots were designed and built by high school students who maneuvered their creations on the playing field Nov. 19 and 20 at the Forum 2 of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

This fifth run of the varsity-type robotics competition organized by the Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI), now called “Tagisang Robotics 2.0”, took five years to be realized.

DOST-SEI Director Dr. Josette Biyo explained, “We needed to give way to other science promotion projects, but we’ve always planned on bringing it back as we’re aware of the increasing role of robotics in education, business, healthcare, in the Fourth Industrial Revolution in general.”

The DOST-SEI, aside from spearheading the DOST scholarships, implements science and mathematics teachers training and youth science promotion programs.

“The hiatus also gave us the opportunity to reconfigure the game to best match the interests and talents of our students,” Biyo added.

The competition started this September with a five-day technical training and workshop and game reveal. Kits containing robot parts were distributed to the teams during the training. They were given two months to design and build robots that could withstand the challenges in the playing field and shoot the most number of balls to win.

The 16 competing schools were :

  • ·       Bangkal High School
  • ·       Benigno “Ninoy” S. Aquino High School
  • ·       Caloocan National Science and Technology High School
  • ·       Makati Science High School
  • ·       Malabon National High School
  • ·       Manila Science High School
  • ·       Marcelo H. del Pilar National High School
  • ·       Muntinlupa National High School – Main
  • ·       Pasig City Science High School
  • ·       Philippine Science High School Main Campus
  • ·       Pitogo High School
  • ·       Rizal High School
  • ·       Rizal National Science High School
  • ·       Sen. Renato “Compañero” Cayetano Memorial Science & Technology High School
  • ·       Taguig Science High School
  • ·       Valenzuela School of Math and Science

Each team was composed of four junior high school students and one teacher-coach. They went through seven rounds of elimination matches to determine which teams advanced to the semi-finals and finals.

As Pitogo High School earned the plum team award, the duo of Malabon National High School and Caloocan National Science High School emerged as the Best Alliance.

Pitogo HS, which won as Best Rookie Team and Best Team in 2013 and again as Best Team in 2014, showed no rust and proved it was still the team to beat. However, they failed to advance to the final round where the fourth ranked alliance of Malabon NHS and Caloocan NSHS shocked the top three pairings to emerge as victors.

Pitogo HS “Thunderbots” is composed of students Luke Alexander Pons, Nathaniel Macato, Jamella Marisse Ragasa, and Althea Maratas. As Best Team, they bagged P100,000 cash prize and a trophy.

Winners of the Best Alliance Award, on the other hand, brought home P150,000. The winning team’s coach received P30,000. Winning alliance coaches also won P15,000 each.

“We’re very glad with how this activity came back as the challenges are more complicated than in the previous years. We felt like it’s high time for us to bring back this competition given that we are facing many changes in our industries. We don’t want our students unprepared and unfit when they enter the workforce,” Biyo remarked.

“We hope to spark students’ interest in in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and in information and communications technology (ICT) through ‘Tagisang Robotics’. We also look forward to having them apply as DOST scholars. Most of all, we’d like to make students see robotics as fun and engaging. It’s a good start in ensuring our country will have more robotics experts in the future, Biyo said. (DOST-SEI)