• NCR pulls away in Palarong Pambansa

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    Calabarzon trackster Veruel Verdadero (center) smiles as he crosses the finish line during the 2017 Palarong Pambansa.
    PHOTO BY RUSSELL PALMA

    SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, ANTIQUE: As the National Capital Region (NCR) start­ed to pull away for the overall crown, Cala­bar­­zon’s Veruel Ver­da­­dero emerges as king of the tracks after winning his third gold medal in athletics.

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    The Big City drew strength from swimming once more to compile 67 gold, 37 silver and 26 bronze as of press time, inching closer to winning its 13th straight overall championship with two days of competition left in the 2017 Palaro.

    Surprisingly running second was host region Western Visayas with a 22-13-24 medal tally (gold-silver-bronze) followed by Calabarzon (16-34-35), Soccsksargen (16-18-21), Northern Island (16-15-18) and Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) (16-10-12).

    Sharing the limelight with the Big City athletes was Verdadero; the meet’s sprint king who added the 200-m run to his conquest then towed his teammates to a record finish in the 4×100-m relay secondary boys at the Binirayan Sports Complex here.

    Verdadero won his second gold after topping the 400-m run secondary boys with a time of 49.58 seconds, beating Soccsksargen’s Marjun Sulleza (50.03) and Calabarzon’s Jan Vincent Alejandro (50.06). Calabarzon made it a double celebration as Jessel Lumampas won the secondary girls with 57.74.

    Verdadero then led Calabarzon’s to a 4×100-m relay gold with a record time of 42.89 seconds, breaking the old mark of 43.06 that Western Visayas established last year. NCR got the silver with 43.00 and Davao took the bronze with 43.38.

    Edwin Giron, Jr., also from Calabarzon, added to the region’s gold haul after topping the 1,500-m run with the time of four minutes and 06.25 seconds beating NCR’s James Darrel Orduna (4:09.43) and Davao’s Germar Marcelo (4:11.36).

    “I reserved my energy for the last lap,” said the 17-year old Giron, who won his first gold in Palarong Pambansa. “It’s really a rewarding experience.”

    Northern Mindanao’s Camila Tubiano won the secondary girls 1,500-m run with a time record of 4:43.17, besting Davao’s Mea Gey Ninura (4:44.20) and Western Visayas’ Edralene Celestial (4:46.60).

    “I’m very happy because it’s my first gold here,” said the Grade 8 student of Quezon National High School in Bukidnon.

    Baguio City’s pride Charmaine Angela Villamor collected four gold medals in the secondary girls archery competition at the Pis-anan National High School ground.

    The 16-year old Villamor, who is eyeing a slot in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, topped the 40-meter distance, 50-m, 60-m and single fita events.

    Villamor tallied 318 points to take the gold of the 40-m event. She also won the 50-m (338), 60-m (318) and single fita (1301) to take four of the first five gold medals.

    In the secondary boys archery, Central Visayas’ Lloyd Apawan bagged the gold medal in the 60-m and 70-m events while CARAGA’s Kennyben Gallogo won the gold in single fita with 1267. Central Luzon’s Bryan Amir Eugenio took the gold in 30-m while Ilocos’ Jared Cole Sua topped the 50-m event.

    The Big City tankers continued to dominate their foes as NCR scooped eight more gold medals in Day 2 of the swimming competition, five in record fashion.

    NCR’s Bela Magtibay shattered a 19-year old record in the secondary girls 200-m breaststroke with a time of two minutes and 47.48 seconds, eclipsing the 2:48.00 mark set by Jenny Guerrero in the 1998 Palarong Pambansa in Bacolod City.

    Another NCR swimmer, Sacho Ilustre, set a new mark in the secondary boys 100-m freestyle with 52.97 seconds, which topped his previous mark of 54.14 last year in Legazpi City.

    Drew Magbag, also from NCR, broke the mark in the secondary boys 200-m breaststroke with a 2:28.28, beating the 2:28.85 time of Mark Jiron Rotoni last year. Rotoni finished second this year with 2:28.83.

    NCR’s relay teams also set new Palaro records – posting 4:01.16 in the secondary boys 400-m medley relay, breaking the 4:07.00 record set during the 2015 Palaro in Tagum. NCR also ruled the secondary girls 400-m relay with a 4:35.09 mark, eclipsing the 4:85.89 old mark also established two years ago.

    In secondary boys basketball, NCR walloped Cordillera Administrative Region, 102-47, to meet Central Visayas, a 79-65 winner over Davao, in the semifinals. Defending champion Calabarzon came from behind to beat Soccsksargen, 83-67, to face host region Western Visayas, a 78-71 winner over CARAGA.

    Ilocos and Negros Island won the gold medal in the elementary boys and elementary girls team events, respectively. Zamboanga Peninsula ruled the secondary boys team event while Davao took the gold in the secondary girls.

    Northern Mindanao captured the gold medals in sepak takraw elementary boys and secondary girls while Negros Island topped the secondary boys held at separate venues.

    Over at Hamtic Central School Covered Court in Poblacion, Eastern Visayas bagged four gold medals in wrestling courtesy of Anthony Obias (42kg secondary boys), Diomel Hugo (46kg secondary boys), Veronica Ompod (40kg secondary girls) and Andrea Rowella Abrea (48kg secondary girls).

    Taking home one gold medal each were Cordillera Administrative Region (Lemuel Daigo, 50kg secondary boys), Central Luzon (Ezekiel Estomago, 54kg secondary boys), and CARAGA (Mary Char Morgado, 44kg, secondary girls).

    At Patnongon Municipal Covered Court in Sibalom, Calabarzon won the elementary boys team event in arnis (double identical weapon) with 68.50 points, beating Soccsksargen (68.25) and Bicol (68.00). Soccsksargen won the gold in the elementary girls with 68.75 points followed by Bicol (67.50) and CAR (67.00).

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