Nat’l aces humble PNG foesBy Marc Anthony Reyes
Philippine Daily Inquirer
DUMAGUETE CITY—National team aces ran away with victories in athletics, dazzled on the dancefloor, and outsmarted the competition in chess as expected yesterday at the POC-PSC National Games here.
Julius Sermona, with two Southeast Asian Games silver medals under his belt, found a second wind in the final two of the 25 laps to beat Kenya’s Josphat Kiptanui Too in the men’s 10,000-meter run for the national team’s first golden performance in athletics, held at the Perdices Sports Complex.
Grandmasters Eugene Torre, Joey Antonio, Darwin Laylo and Richard Bitoon pounded their first-round foes at the newly built Convention Center while the national dancers swept their events before a big crowd at the nearby Lamberto Macias Coliseum.
German Enriquez and Ma. Danella Renee Publico of NCR got a perfect score of five to clinch the amateur elite standard title, while teammates Michael Angelo Marquez and Stephanie Sabalo turned in an equally stunning show to take the amateur elite Latin gold.
Partners for two years now, the 31-year-old Enriquez and the 21-year-old Publico gained the nod of judges after a minute and a half dancing to waltz, tango, Venice waltz, quickstep and foxtrot.
“People are expecting us to win, so we gave it our best,” said Enriquez, who paired with Publico to reach the semifinals in the Asian Championships in Beijing and the Asia Pacific Championships in Australia.
Marquez, 23, and Sabalo, 24, shone in the Latin division. The pair that captured the gold in the King’s Cup in Thailand and the Malaysian Open and Korean Open last year performed for 1:45 to a perfect score.
Also grabbing the spotlight are the young dancers from Cebu who garnered 21 of 29 golds disputed in juvenile, youth and junior division of the games organized by the Philippine Olympic Committee and the Philippine Sports Commission, and sponsored by Smart Communications, Summit Mineral Water, Standard Insurance, TV5, AKTV, 2Go, Ayala Corp., Cebu Pacific, Accel, Pocari Sweat, Scratch It Go for Gold, SM Investments and Puregold Price Club.
The young Cebuanos are products of the Dancesports-Cebu City which taught under-privileged children the fundamentals to eventually become instructors themselves.
Nineteen-year-old Maika de Oro of Bacolod, competing in the girls’ discus throw, provided the day’s shocker when her heave of 38.96 meters easily surpassed the 32.37m effort of Open gold medalist Erika Hanna Sia of Baguio.
Debbie Istada of Escalante (31.35m) and Renseiy Rosales of Bohol (29.98m), the silver and bronze medalists in the girls’ discus, also turned in performances that could have won them Open medals.
Jhansel Udaundo, also of Baguio, was second in the women’s discus in 28.80m with Cebu City’s Jade Marie Recto third in 26.42m.
Sermona, who is running for Philippine Air Force-HyperSports, clocked 31 minutes and 9.44 seconds to beat Too, a nursing student at the Negros Oriental State University, who timed 31:14.16.
Too finished ahead of veteran Eduardo Buenavista who came in third in 32:03.90, way off his 29:02.36 PH mark.
Antonio drubbed Jared Ben Allosa of Dumaguete on board 1, while Torre, Asia’s first GM and also playing for QC, crushed Dumaguete’s Jonathan Lubrido. Bitoon of Cebu ripped Wilfred Vergel Neri of Aklan, and Laylo downed regie Reginaldo of Tanjay.
Sulu won its first gold through Ishmael Abdulnasseef who ruled the tunggal putra event in pencak silat over Cebu’s Adzar Abdulrasad Zamboanga’s Ishmael Abdulgani at the City High Gym.