(STAR) By Joey Villar - Tanker Gian Daniel Berino continued to stamp his class in the elementary division, winning two more gold medals for a five-gold feat as fancied National Capital Region kept its searing pace in another hot, humid day in the 2007 Palarong Pambansa at the South Cotabato Sports Complex here yesterday.

But Western Visayas’ Luville Dato-on grabbed the spotlight from the NCR tankers as the valedictorian at the San Enrique Comprehensive National High School crowned herself the sprint and long jump queen to become athletics’ first double gold medal winner.

The searing summer heat claimed another victim as parade coordinator Edwin Gulmatico of the host city succumbed at 3 p.m. yesterday at the Allah Medical Center because of complications due to hyperthermia or high fever.

Gulmatico, 40, was the second Palaro official to die this week after Carlo Mingue del Prado, a principal from Marinduque, died of cardiac arrest Sunday.

The oppressive heat has downed a total of 116 athletes and a number of officials, according to Dr. Raymund Prieto, the chair of the medical team here and the city health officer.

He said Nida Villas of Batangas, who was rushed to the hospital Tuesday after suffering from heart attack, is now in stable condition.

The 16-year-old Dato-on ruled the secondary long jump with a 5.14-meter leap in the morning finals before capturing the 100m dash gold in 12.6 seconds in the afternoon as Region 6 remained on track in ruling track and field for the second straight year.

"I’m happy with my performance," said Dato-on, who is set to compete in two more relay events, in Filipino.

The Big City bets proved unrelenting as they took seven of the 12 gold medals offered in the day to pool a 26-gold haul in the second day of the swimming competition.

Berino, an incoming high school freshman at UNO High, ruled the 100m freestyle in one minute and 1.3 seconds before teaming up with Abel Andrew Rebol, Gabriel Castelo and Fahad Al-Khaldi to rule the 400m medley relay and spark another golden rush by the NCR bets.

Other winners for NCR were Jodie de Leon (secondary 200m breaststroke), Hannah Dato (elementary 100m free), Matthew Tano (secondary 100m free), the secondary 400m medley relay team of Dato, Kezia Sarmiento, Jacquelyn Cruz and Sabrina Ingrid Illustre and the secondary 400m medley relay squad of Tano, Maxim Quilala, Angelo Carandang and Adel Barlisan.

It was Dato-on’s third straight long jump gold following her victories in the 2005 and 2006 editions in Iloilo and Naga, respectively, as Western Visayas posted a four-gold tally in the secondary girls, counting the 800m run gold copped by Mary Joy Caporas.

The NCR bets, the general champions in elementary and high school levels, also won three gold medals, two in secondary level courtesy of Randolf Hernandez (discus throw) and Jose Unso (400m hurdles) and one in elementary from Ana Marie Rodriguez’s victory in the 400m hurdles.

Unso, who clocked 57.2 seconds, is the son of former 1984 Los Angeles Olympics veteran Renato Unso, a hurdles specialist himself.

The Cordillera Administrative Region also made its presence felt at the oval with wins by Divina Kitongan in elementary 800m and Claudine Galbay in elementary long jump.

Other athletics winners were Southern Tagalog A’s Deliza Paz Banebane (elementary 400m hurdles) and John Cedric Montecer (elementary 800m), Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao’s Ryan Dangeso (elementary 400m hurdles), Ilocos’ Adrianne Payopay (elementary shot put), Central Luzon’s Michelle Ann Sapuyot (elementary 100m), Cotabato’s Azzaher Zacaria (elementary 100m), Central Visayas’ Lindly Fran Navaja (secondary 100m) and Southern Tagalog B’s Russell Kaw (secondary 800m).

Over at the Fitmart Mall, the NCR nailed three gold medals in elementary taekwondo, one more than Northern Mindanao, represented by the fancied jins from Cagayan de Oro.

Archery also proved to be a goldmine for the Big City as it topped five of the six events at the New City Hall Site.

Marie Francisca Cabral swept all three – 50m, 30m and FITA – in the girls section while Raphael Bueno ruled the 30m and FITA to make it a five-gold haul by NCR.

Jayson Tesoro of Southern Tagalog A took the 50m gold.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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