Fil-Americans sweep top figure skating honors


10:39 PM November 27th, 2011

By: Jasmine W. Payo, November 27th, 2011 10:39 PM

MANILA, Philippines—It’s A decision Filipino-American Melissa Bulanhagui certainly doesn’t regret.

A former Team USA skater, Bulanhagui showcased her talent for the first time in the Philippines to capture the senior ladies crown in the National Figure Skating Championship Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia ice skating rink.

“My parents have been begging me to do it,” said Bulanhagui, a 21-year-old Delaware native whose Filipino parents, Alfredo and Lourdes, trace their roots in Bauan, Batangas.

“I’m proud of what I’ve done for Team USA and I’m now ready to do my work for the Philippines.”

Bulanhagui earned a total of 120.20 points with routines set to “Egyptian Disco” and “Rachmaninoff” and dethrone last year’s champion and fellow Filipino-American Zhaira Costiniano.

“I finished off with a good double axel,” said Bulanhagui, who has topped several international competitions, including the 2008-2009 Junior Grand Prix.

“All my spins and footwork were there. I think I did all the other elements well.”

Costiniano, who set a record last year as the youngest women’s champion at 15, settled for second this time with 110.39 points. Mericien Venzon rounded out the podium finishers with a score of 88.13.

Christopher Caluza also boosted the strong showing of several foreign skaters with Filipino roots by copping the senior men’s title with 173.66 points.

“I always wanted to represent the Filipino community because I was inspired by Manny Pacquiao,” said the 21-year-old Caluza of San Diego, California.

Allison Perticheto, a 14-year-old Filipino-Italian charmer based in Switzerland, clinched the junior ladies crown with 109.97 points in her Philippine debut.

“I think my performance was really good,” said Perticheto. “I’m happy that I’ll be representing the Philippines in other competitions.”

The brother-sister tandem of Carlotta and David Powers also topped the junior pairs. The other winners were Estefani Guerra (ladies advanced novice A), Sabine Katigbak (ladies basic novice A), Chloe Ramirez (ladies basic novice B), Jules Vince Alpe (men’s advanced novice A), Audrey Alcaraz (juvenile) and Gabrielle Panlilio (pre-juvenile).

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