MATI, OCTOBER 20, 2003 (STAR) By Nelson Beltran - Even before the third Mindanao Friendship Games formally opened in glittering rites in this seaside Davao Oriental capital town yesterday, Davao City showed great determination to finally rule this sporting spectacle among Mindanaoan athletes by dominating the menís golf event Friday.

And sustaining the momentum provided by their golfers, cyclist Hilario Ladra topped the 165km road race as the premier Southern Mindanao city, runner-up in the first two stagings of this multi-sport meet, immediately took top spot in the medal chart with hostilities going full blast in and around the Mati Centennial Sports Complex.

Bukidnon swept the womenís golf while Gen. Santos City and Panabo City struck in dancesports to also seize spotlight in the initial burst of action in the meet that gathered some 4,000 athletes from 41 local government units in this first class municipality which incidentally is celebrating its centennial anniversary on Oct. 29.

A centennial celebration of dances, featuring hundreds of participants, highlighted the opening ceremonies which had Senators Robert Jaworski and Loren Legarda among the special guests.

Mati Mayor Francisco Rabat and his former World Basketball Championship teammates Caloy Loyzaga and Ramoncito Campos along with other Philippine great athletes Mona Sulaiman, Jairulla Jaitulla and Lydia de Vega led the torch-lighting ceremonies in the meet sponsored by Air Philippines, Samsung, STI, Centrum, Nestle Phil., Speedo, KIX Taekwondo, Pagcor, Rogemson and WG&A Super Ferry.

Ranil Glimada, Jomil Ababa and Elmer Saban pooled together 442 (36 holes) to win practically by a mile the menís golf gold at the Apo Golf Club course.

But it was an expected masterful showing with the three knowing the course like the back of their hands. Glimada (147), Ababa (147) and Saban (148) are all caddies at Apo.

Glimada took the individual gold on a sudden-death with Ababa ó a member of the Ababa golfing clan including professionals Gil, Cesar and Edgar.

In the distaff side, Lovelyn Gioquio totaled 170 to win the individual gold and lead Bukidnon (330) to the team championship. Davao City settled for runner-up honors with 362.

Another familiar golfing name Eva MiŮoza is a member of the triumphant Bukidnon team. She logged 171 to finish third behind Gioquio and Davao Cityís Cecile Co in the individual event.

Ladra, a former member of the RP mountain bike training pool now in his 30s, turned back the hands of time as he outpedalled his youthful rivals in the road race cycling that started at the historic Rizal Park grounds and ended at the provincial capitol after passing through the towns of Sasa, Panabo, Carmen, Tagum, Maco, Mabini, Pantukan, Banay-Banay, and Lupon. Ladra clocked with Misamis Orientalís Julito Mangupot coming in second at

Gen. Santos City won the standard discipline in dancesports courtesy of Manuel Alovera and Stephanie Palacios while Panabo City won the Latin American discipline through Vincent Chavez and Fe Flores.

Panabo City placed second in standard discipline through Arturo and Catherine Catapan while Gen. Santos gained runner-up honors in Latin American courtesy of Mark and Marinella Alovera.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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