(STAR) By Joey Villar - Records fell as rain drenched the Palarong Pambansa here after a week of heat wave with a javelin thrower from the Ilocos Region producing the worthiest victory and the fancied National Capital Region capping its domination of the pool events at the South Cotabato Sports Complex here yesterday.

Ilocos bet Stephanie Cimatu heaved the javelin to 38.53 meters in smashing the one-year-old elementary record of 34.94m set by Nina Malinao of Southern Tagalog A in Naga City on a day heavy rains somehow washed away memories of a sizzling, punishing week that claimed two lives and caused more than 300 heat-related cases.

"I thank my coach for helping and training me for this event," said the 12-year-old Cimatu in Filipino, referring to former Southeast Asian Games javelin gold medalist Erlinda Lavandia.

At press time, the NCR, the defending champion in both the elementary and high school divisions, leads the way with 108 overall championship points in secondary level, way ahead of Central Luzon’s 59, Western Visayas’ 48, Central Visayas’ 42 and Southern Tagalog A’s 37.

The Big City bets are also comfortably ahead in elementary division with a whopping 119.5 total. Cotabato Region is in second with 55 followed by Central Visayas (34), Western Visayas (31) and Southern Tagalog A (31) in that order.

NCR’s Sabrina Ingrid Ilustre, 12, ruled the 200m individual medley in two minutes and 37.87 seconds, breaking her own mark of 2:38.54 she registered in the morning heats.

The old record was actually 2:40.18 set by Western Visayas’ Kerschtine Velez seven years ago in Bacolod City.

The Southern Tagalog A team of Christine Grace Tan, Marvie Borja, Claire Adorna and Erika Visitacion also established a new record in 4x100 freestyle, winning the gold medal in 4:19.43. The team eclipsed the seven-year-old record of 4:24.97 registered by the Big City tankers in Bacolod City.

While Illustre, who also won in 100m breaststroke, set a new swim record, Gian Daniel Berino hiked his gold medal tally to six with a victory in the 200 individual medley in 2:31.58 to emerge the most bemedalled athlete in this annual event.

Berino, a Tondo native, topped the 200m, 100m freestyle and 100m back and was a member of the victorious 4x50m and 4x100 medley relay teams to power NCR’s romp in the pool competition.

Host Cotabato region’s Azzaher Zacaria won in elementary 200m dash to complete a golden double in 24.4 seconds before leading the 4x100 and 4x400 medley relay teams to victories to become the best performer at the track with five gold medals.

NCR actually took half of the 16 gold medals staked on the final day in aquatics. The other winners were Gabriel Lorenzo Castelo (elementary 50m free), Maxim Quilala (secondary 200m IM), Christine Grace Tan (secondary 100m breast) and its secondary 4x100m freestyle boys and girls squads.

Western Visayas, for its part, ruled athletics, thanks to final day wins by Josie Malacad (secondary 3000m), JC Mark Palestero (secondary 200m), Keizel Pedrina (secondary 200m) and its secondary girls 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams.

Other track winners were Northern Mindanao’s Marisol Pacquiao (elementary high jump), Cordillera Administrative Region’s Maria Felise Ellaga (secondary high jump) and Cotabato’s Iverse Joy Diaz (elementary 200m).

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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