NCR runaway Palaro overall champs again

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WESTERN Visayas’ Ariel Estranero defies the outstretched arms of NCR’s Marge Tejada (left) and Carey Sandoval during the secondary volleyball finals. NCR won. ROMY HOMILLADA

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan—Imposing itself in most sports with its vast reserve of talents, National Capital Region once again emerged overall champion over  Western Visayas and Calabarzon at the close of the 2012 Palarong Pambansa at the Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center here yesterday.

The Metro Manilans, banking on overwhelming victories in swimming, gymnastics and other triumphs in most of the 17 sports featured in this annual meet,  assembled a total of 733 points in dominating the competition for the 10th straight year.

Western Visayas finished a far second with 452 points, while Calabarzon—the other half of what used to be Palaro powerhouse Southern Tagalog that was broken up in 2002—amassed 335.50 for third overall.

Central Visayas was fourth with 305.17, Northern Mindanao fifth with 171.5, and Central Luzon sixth with 157 points.

Providing the finishing kick for NCR was the double gold in high school volleyball. The Big City spikers beat WV, 25-16, 25-19, 19-25, 25-17, for the girls’ gold medal, before the boys subdued CV, 24-26, 25-20, 14-25, 25-17, 15-12, in a thrilling finale at the steaming hot NRSCC open courts.

NCR’s elementary cage team also chipped in 25 points to the cause with a 97-90 triumph over Calabarzon, before its high school boys football squad ripped Central Visayas, 2-0, for the gold.

In swimming alone, NCR gathered 41 of 60 gold medals contested. The Metro Manilans also prevailed  in badminton, chess, gymnastics and girls’ elementary track and field.

Palaro employed its own points system instead of the medal tally with the overall champion getting 15 points for sports with individual events, and 25 in team sports.

WV dominated athletics, arnis and softball, but failed to gain niche elsewhere. Even in its stronghold athletics, NCR took the overall title in elementary boys.

This year’s Palaro, hosted by this rapidly growing province for the second time, brought out promising new talents both in the centerpiece events of track and field and swimming.

In athletics, 16-year-old Maureen Emily Schrijvers of NCR—born to a Chinese mother and a Belgian father in Manila—emerged the most celebrated athlete with five gold medals including a record leap in girls’ high jump and a sprint double.

Schrijvers’ jump of 1.62 meters—bettering the old mark of 1.60m that stood for 10 years—could earn the incoming La Salle student a place in the Philippine team.

Axel Toni Ngui of NCR also became the heartthrob in swimming with seven gold medals in as many events. Also shining at the pool were elementary tankers Joshua Benzi Yang of NCR who accounted for four golds, and Raissa Gavino who won five at the Dagupan Poolsite.

Outgoing NCR stalwart Delia Cordero harvested five golds while  Catherine Bondad collected six gold medals.

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