Palaro star Ilustre leads NCR splurge anew
DAVAO DEL NORTE —Maurice Sacho Ilustre, last year’s most outstanding athlete, shattered a Palarong Pambansa record on his way to two golds in swimming as National Capital Region and Calabarzon made a big splash in the pool Tuesday night at DavNor Sports and Tourism Center.
The 15-year-old Ilustre, a 10th grader at De La Salle-Zobel, won the secondary boys’ 200-meter butterfly with a record time of two minutes and 7.28 seconds after earlier ruling the 400m freestyle.
The most dominant swimmer with a perfect seven-for-seven effort in Sta. Cruz, Laguna, last year actually broke the 1998 Palaro mark of Carlo Piccio of Western Visayas (2:09.98) when he topped the morning heats in 2:09.00.
“I hope to repeat what I did last year and also set new records as well,” said Ilustre whose elder sisters were also previous Palaro champions. “I have trained nonstop because I want to emulate my idol Michael Phelps.”
Another NCR bet Seth Isaak Martin also set a new mark in the heats of the elementary boys’ 100m backstroke with a 1:06.38 clocking, ripping the 1:07.21 mark he set last year. He eventually bagged the gold with a time of 1:07.01.
NCR and Calabarzon each snared five gold medals at the beginning of the medal-rich swimming competitions. But with NCR also winning 10 golds the previous day plus one in athletics, the perennial overall winning squad pulled away with a total of 16 gold medals.
Also winning for NCR were Jules Katherine Ong in elementary girls’ 200m freestyle, and Camille Lauren Buico in elementary girls’ 50m butterfly.
Calabarzon, the only other region that could challenge the Big City in swimming, was led by 16-year-old Gwen Brynne Prejula of Antipolo who topped the secondary girls’ 400 free.
Calabarzon’s other winners were Arian Neil Puyo in secondary boys’ 100m backstroke, Nicole Meah Pamintuan in secondary girls’ 100m backstroke, Mervien Jule Mirandilla in elementary boys’ 50m butterfly, and Regina Maria Paz Castrillo in secondary girls’ 200m butterfly.
Meanwhile, Camarines Sur’s Jayson Jabol ruled the elementary boys’ shot put to become the Bicol Region’s first double-gold winner. He snared the triple jump title last Monday.
The day’s lone NCR gold in athletics came from Daniella Daynata in the secondary girls’ discus throw.
In arnis, Western Visayas’ Christian Reyes won the secondary boys’ single weapon while Ilocos region’s Danilo Pastoral prevailed in the double weapon.
Calabarzon’s Mary Allin Aldeguer and the Cordillera’s Eza Rai Yalong split the secondary girls’ titles by ruling the double weapon and single weapon, respectively.
Midway into the game, the organizing Department of Education cited host Davao del Norte for having “the most organized and easiest to handle,” Palaro.
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