MATI, OCTOBER 25, 2003 (STAR) By Nelson Beltran - For Davao City, itís 2002 nightmare was finally over as it completed a dream run in the third Mindanao Friendship Games, proving to one and all itís the sporting king this part of the country.

From the tracks to the field and on the court, Davao City athletes completed their triumphs yesterday, providing a fitting climax in a weeklong of interplay of sporting skills in this meet they lost in controversial manner in Cagayan de Oro last year.

Victories by their menís and womenís basketball teams and more triumphs in athletics capped Davao Cityís conquest of the games hosted by this seaside Davao Oriental capital town with support from Air Philippines, Samsung, STI, Centrum, Nestle Phil., Speedo, KIX Taekwondo, Pagcor, Rogemson, WG&A Super Ferry, PCSO, Philcom, Bachelorís Express, Baygon, Burlington, Peak Sports and San Miguel Corp.

Davao City athletes stood proud as the premier Southern Mindanao city was announced the overall champion of the games during the closing ceremonies at the Mati Centennial Sports Center under gathering dusk. Ilocos Norte congresswoman Imee Marcos was the guest of honor.

"The success of the Mindanao Games is a manifestation of the Mindanaoansí enthusiasm on sports. It has proven that Mindanao is not what many think it is. The turnout of participants is amazing that from the Friendship Games, we have now a systematic and potential competition among the people of Mindanao," said Philippine Sports Commission chairman Eric Buhain at the close of the games.

"It has been another successful staging of the Mindanao Games and we are very appreciative of the efforts of Mati as they put their best foot forward in the staging of the games," said Ariel Paredes, head of the PSC national programs secretariat.

Minus the results of only a few more events at press time, Davao City was the runaway winner with a medal haul of 70 golds, 64 silvers and 47 bronzes. Iligan City was at second with a 31-22-33 gold-silver-bronze take, followed by Davao Oriental 21-17-37, Zamboanga City 20-19-14, Gen. Santos 14-18-15, Cagayan de Oro 13-11-21, Panabo 11-7-8, Koronadal 10-13-10, Lanao del Sur 10-9-7 and Malaybalay 7-5-6 to round out the Magic 10.

The Davao City menís basketball team, under former PBA player Cadel Mosqueda, clobbered North Cotabato, 82-66, while the Davao City womenís team routed Cagayan de Oro, 76-66, to cap the winning cityís masterful showing in the games.

Reyna delos Reyes won the Ms. Mindanao Pageant Thursday night after winning five golds for Gen. Santos City in gymnastics. Monique Bacolod of Iligan City and Norton Alamara of Davao City, however, emerged the most bemedalled female and male athletes with seven and six golds, respectively.

Winning the sprint king and queen honors were Iligan Cityís Arnold Villarube and Cagayan de Oroís Zaide Va-o, respectively.

Villarube bagged two other golds in javelin throw and 200m dash.

Aside from Villarube and Va-o, others who reigned supreme at the close of athletics were Davao del Surís Sharon Ruledo in womenās javelin, Malaybalayís Jhomiludin Lucman in triple jump, another Malaybalay bet Norman Chan in 400m low hurdles, Davao Cityís Darrel Joie Sullano in heptahlon and in triple jump and Davao Orientalís Nichell Adovo in 200m dash. Maguindanao won one gold before the games closed as it beat Davao City in the menís volleyball final. Zamboanga del Norte made it a four-goal harvest as it toppled Compostela Valley in the womenās volleyball final.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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