LAGUNA RETAINS BATANG PINOY CHAMPIONSHIP
Sta. Cruz, Laguna, Jan. 28, 2001 - Laguna's decision to host the 2nd Batang Pinoy national championships reaped handsome dividends when it retained the overall championship Saturday at the conclusion of the sportfest at the San Luis Sports Complex here.
With rich harvests in athletics and cycling, coupled with their usual dominance in swimming, Laguna athletes romped their way to the title by 32 gold, 17 silver and 22 bronze medals in the 12-under competitions.
"In Laguna, we maintain a premium in instilling physical fitness and sports development among our children," said former Laguna Gov. and newly-appointed Local Governments Secretary Joey Lina during the closing ceremonies.
The hosts nearly doubled the 18-gold haul they had in the 1st Batang Pinoy nationals held in 1999 in Bacolod.
PSC chairman Carlos Tuason, speaking on behalf of President Arroyo, said: "I would like to congratulate our young children athletes, the parents and coaches for giving their full support and active participation. Muntinlupa, third overall two years ago, banked on its gymnastics goldmine to gain overall runner-up honors with 26 golds, 20 of them in gymnastics, 12 silvers and 15 bronze medals in the meet supported by the Philippine Tourism Authority, STI and Lactum Choco.
Traditional sports powerhouse Manila, getting nine golds in swimming, was a distant third with 11-6-7 while Quezon City took fourth (9-4-8), nosing out Zamboanga City (9-4-7) which settled for fifth place.
Laguna will receive P300,000 worth of sports equipment from the PSC, Muntinlupa P200,000 worth of gear and Manila P100,000 worth of equipment.
Misamis Oriental, coached by 1990 Beijing Asian Games gold medalist Roberto Jalnaiz, dethroned defending boxing champion Cebu City by capturing one gold and two silver medals in the finals held at the Sta. Cruz town plaza.
Alberto Yap, adjudged as the tourney's best boxer, fought his way to 27-21 win over Davao City's Charlito Quiapo to bag Misamis Oriental's lone gold medal in the light-cottonweight (28-kilo) division. Teammates Milan Melendo dropped a close 25-28 decision to Mandaue City's Joniel Arnejo in the cottonweight (30-kilo) category and Jun Ray del Puerto lost to Cebu City's lanky Alex John Banal 20-35 in the powderweight (3-kilo) class. Negros Occidental's Rodolfo Tupaz Jr. nipped Camarines Norte's Jessie Basco 10-8 in the no-weight (26 kilo) category and South Cotabato's Neil Brian Elbanbuena subdued Cebu City's Jonard Villanueva 47-44 to cop the light powderweight (32-kilo) gold. Tawi-Tawi took the boys' football and volleyball crowns.
The Tawi-Tawi booters blanked Camarines Norte 3-0 while their volleyball counterparts subdued Laguna 25-25, 23-13.
Batangas ruled the distaff side of the volleyball event by subduing Silay 13-25, 25-17, 27-29.
Cebu Province also had a productive final day by capturing gold medals in the boys' singles and doubles and girls' doubles of badminton. Malabon took the other gold up for grabs in the girls' singles.
In the biking competitions alone, Laguna garnered seven golds and captured six in track in field, five of them by Aiza Cometa, the league's most bemedalled athlete.
Laguna swimmers, led by triple gold medalist Banjo Borja, surfaced from the San Luis Sports Complex pool with 10 golds. Cometa was the most accomplished athlete in the sportfest where 44 and 10 records were set in swimming and athletics, respectively.
The 12-year-old Liliw Elementary School sixth-grader put up a phenomenal performance by sweeping all of her five events -- the 100, 200, and 400-meter runs and 4x100 and 4x400-meter relays -- aside from setting new records in all of them.
Cometa was directly or partly responsible for five of the 10 new meet marks set in girls' athletics.
Albay's Tyrone Ng was the outstanding bet in boys' athletics where he won golds in the 50 and 100-meter runs -- both in record times -- aside from silvers in the 200-meter dash, 4x100 and 4x400-meter relays.
Majority of the triple gold medalists came in swimming, namely Manila's Ronald Guiriba, Malabon's Ronald Papa, Albay's Henrico Hose, Muntinlupa's Allister Kennedy, Laguna's banjo Borja and John Brylle Zapanta and Manila's Bea del Mundo.
Muntinlupa's Charmaine Dolar was the lone triple gold medalist in gymnastics. (By BONG PEDRALVEZ)
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