MATI, DAVAO ORIENTAL, OCTOBER 23, 2003 (MALAYA) By MARIVIC AWITAN  - Monique Bacolod emerged as the best performer in the pool and team Iligan retained the swimming title but it was Zamboanga City which made the biggest charge Wednesday courtesy of its weightlifters in the 3rd Mindanao Games at the Mati Centennial Sports Complex here.

Davao City, favored to retain the overall crown after sending a 399-strong delegation, the biggest here, remained on target as it won 10 gold medals in the pool and improved its overall haul to 34 gold medals, 42 silver and 31 bronze.

Bacolod, winner of five events in the first two days, added the 50-meter backstroke title and the 400-m medley relay gold to her collection. The 14-year-old charmer from La Salle in Iligan finished with seven gold medals, two silver and one bronze-the most so far for an athlete in the games-helping her team retain the swimming title with 13 gold, nine silver and nine bronze and hiking up Iligan's overall haul to 26-18-23.

Other gold medal winners for Iligan City in the pool Wednesday were Shahani Navarro in the women's 800-m freestyle, Haroon Cali in the men's 1,500-m freestyle and Nianh Lyn Acain in the women's 200-m butterfly.

Zamboanga City, nowhere near the leaders after Tuesday's events, had a big leap to third Wednesday, thanks to its weightlifters who won 12 of the 13 gold medals at stake, jacking up the team's overall numbers to 15-8-8.

Gen. Santos City was close behind at fourth with 14 gold, 16 silver and nine bronze medals followed by Koronadal at 10-11-9, Cagayan de Oro City at 9-7-5 and host Davao Oriental at 8-8-23. Rounding out the top 10 were Lanao del Sur at 5-3-4, Bukidnon (5-2-4) and Ozamis City (4-4-7).

The 12 weightlifters from Zamboanga City who won gold medals were Allen Jayfus Diaz(47 kg), Arnold Diaz (51 kg), Jaymark Perez (56 kg), Jomar Napoloreyes (62 kg), Ronald Colonia (69 kg) and Dante Apolinario (77 kg) in the men's division and Cherry Mae Mendoza (44 kg), Hidilyn Diaz (48 kg), Maricel Mendoza (53 kg), Cecilia Atilano (58 kg), Maygene Avery (63 kg) and Annie Revillas (69 kg) in the women's division.

Only the gold medal in the men's 85 kg. slipped past Zamboanga City. It was snatched by Davao City's Briz Labajo.

Guest team Ilocos Norte was way behind in the overall rankings but grabbed the limelight nonetheless as it continued its supremacy in men's gymnastics, winning three more gold medals courtesy of opening-day winner April Lucky Gappi and Jaypee Pangdan.

Gappi, who earlier won the men's individual all-around gold, won two more gold medals in the floor exercise and pommel horse while Pangdan won the gold medal in the vault event.

Mati mayor Francisco Rabat, a member of the 1954 RP men's basketball team which placed third in the World Championships held in Brazil, said he is overwhelmed by the exposure that Mati and the participating athletes are getting.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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