DUMAGUETE: Don Marc Bondad and Crisha Mae Merto wound up their perfect campaign in contrasting fashion on Wednesday, each picking up their sixth straight gold medal at the end of the Batang Pinoy Games Visayas archery tournament at the Negros Oriental State University range here.
Carrying the banner of his hometown of Zamboanguita, Negros Oriental, Bondad outclassed Tacloban’s Frazel Ray Batingal, 6-2, in securing the boys cadet division Olympic round championship of the meet organized and supported by the Philippine Sports Commission.
On the other hand, Merto, daughter of former national team member Crizaldo and niece of 1988 Seoul Olympian Rowell, won her own battle of nerves and a tense duel with teammate Gabrielle Monica Bedaure, 6-5, in a shoot-off in ruling the girls cadet division Olympic round title match.
With his father-coach and uncle watching on the sidelines, Merto calmed herself and scored an 8 while Bedaure a 7 in the sudden-death shoot-off as the Dumaguete archers went 7-of-8 in the final events of the sporstfest also supported by the Dumaguete City government led by Felipe Mariano “Ipe” Remollo.
Sharing the spotlight with Bondad and Merto was Dumaguete’s Carson Francis Hastie, who also collected his sixth mint in whipping Cebu’s Zhack Randolf Torreon, 6-0, in the boys cub division Olympic round title.
“I finally learned the value of proper training and constant practice,” said Bondad, who was the Western Visayas regional champion in 2016 and saw action in the Palarong Pambansa Legazpi, Albay but failed to qualify in this year’s Palaro held I San Jose, Antique.
“I became overconfident but I promise that it won’t ever happen again,” vowed the Grade 9 Negros Oriental High School student, who also won the 30, 40, 50, 60-meter titles and the FITA round.
“I was so nervous, it thought the stress might trigger my asthma. Muntik na po,” bared Merto, the younger sibling of former national champion Cristabel, of the effort in keeping her composure during her battle with Bedaure.
The Holy Cross High School Grade 8 student other victories came in the 30, 40, 50, 60-meter and FITA events.
Born in Alaska but whose family transferred back to the country when he was four, Hastie emerged as the most bemedalled archer with golds also in the 30, 40-meter, mixed team and team events plus two silvers in the 20 and 40-meter distances.
Over at the Gov. Mariano Perdices Memorial Stadium, Leyte province, powered by athletes from the Leyte Sports Academy, bagged four of the six gold medals at stake at the close of athletics.
Unheralded Jayvee Alvarez was the star of the LSA campaigners, garnering his fourth gold medal in just as many events in lifting the Leyte 4×400-meter relay squad to victory in a time of 3:44.3.
A virtual walk-in the LSA fold handled by coach Damaso Oledan Jr. two years ago, Alvarez, 15, achieved a major breakthrough in his Batang Pinoy debut in winning the 2,000, 1,500 and 800-meter runs earlier in sweeping all of his events.
“Jayvee does not know how to quit and is obedient inspite of the fact that he did not win in his earlier competitions,” said Oledan. “Masipag at masunurin yong bata. He was able to do well because of his intensive training.”
Securing his third mint with the relay triumph was LSA teammate Danelo Gili, who scored an individual golden double in prevailing in the boys 200-meter race in 23.9 seconds after winning the 400-meter title earlier.
LSA teammate and Palaro standout Marian Jane Combate added a second gold in breezing to victory in the girls 200-meter run (25.7), but saw buddy and sprint partner Shane Avryl Demiao fall in the last 70 meters, apparently due to a torn hip muscle as they were rounding the last curve.
With Demiao sidelined, Leyte was forced to withdraw from the 4×400-meter relay for the lack of one runner, denying Combate of a possible fourth gold.
Cebu City took the remaining mints courtesy of Mary Joy Loberanis in the girls 1,500-meter run (5:03.4) and the girls 4×400-meter relay (4:38.3).
Leyte also fared well in boxing, grabbing three of the eight golds up for grabs in the finals held at the Barangay Tinago 1 covered court on the city’s outskirts.
Chris Carlos Emnas started the ball rolling in whipping Dumaguete’s Jhon Jeffrey Rosales, 5-0, in the boys 38-kilogram division while Jilyn dela Cruz scored a referee-stop-contest victory over Bayawan’s Lra Belle Nacurita with a minute and seven seconds left in the third round of the 44-46-kg. class.
Leyte’s Salvador Caasi routed Cebu Provinces’s Gaudfrey Lubiano, 5-0, in the boys 48-kg. division for the province’s other gold.
With Cebu-based commissioner Ramon Fernandez watching at ringside, Cebu province garnered pair of golds with Jim Andreas stopping Cebu City’s Bienjemar Codoy in the second round in the boys 40-kg. divison while Alec Xandre Bonita scored an RSC win over Sipalay’s Lorenz John Torella in the boys 44-46-kg. category.
Cebu City’s John Kevin Jimenez thrashing La Carlota”s Dante Montales, 5-0, in the 34-36-kg. class, Antique’s Gideon Salazar dumped Sipalay’s Roland Agravante, 5-0, in the 42-kg. match and Bago City’s Flint Jara crushed Leyte’s Archie Alao, 5-0 ,in the 50-kg. division finals.
TOP ARCHER: Dumaguete archer Crisha Mae Merto is shown in action en route to victory in the Olympic round of the girls cadet division yesterday of the Batang Pinoy Visayas Games archery tournament at the University of Negros Oriental State University range in Dumaguete City.