Ilustre romp: 7 golds
SAN JOSE, ANTIQUE—By the time the 60th edition of the Palarong Pambansa comes to a close on Saturday, Maurice Sacho Ilustre will again be the Games’ most victorious athlete.
The 17-year-old swimmer from De La Salle-Zobel has clinched seven gold medals, scooping his sixth in the 200m freestyle and then powering National Capital Region to victory in the 400m freestyle relay.
“I feel great. I hope to continue performing well in future tournaments,” said Ilustre, who replicated his output last year in Legaspi City with a couple of record-smashing performances to boot.
A shoo-in for the national team in the coming Southeast Asian Games, Ilustre typified the might of NCR’s finest athletes, who secured their 13th straight overall title in the biggest sportsfest for elementary and high school athletes.
Metro Manila raised its collection to 82 gold, 44 silver and 37 bronze medals late Friday, more than half of the output of Western Visayas (33-19-30) and Southern Tagalog (24-47-41) with only medals in team sports yet to be awarded.
Pole vaulter Francis Edward Obiena, who won the country’s lone gold in the recent Southeast Asian Athletics Youth Championships, boosted his stock by clearing 4.30 meters and smashing the old record of 4.06 he himself set in last years’ Palaro in Legazpi City.
“I tried my best to go over 4.40 so that the record could stay for a long time,” said the 17-year-old son of Edward Obiena, a decathlon bronze medalist in the Southeast Asian Games. “The effort wasn’t enough.”
Veruel Verdadero of Southern Tagalog completed a sprint double and raised his golden output to five after ruling the secondary boys’ 200m in 21.90 seconds, just a tenth off the Palaro record set by national team standout Jomar Udtohan three years ago in Laguna.
The 15-year-old from Dasmariñas City, Cavite, teamed up with Joviane Calixto, Jan Vincent Alejandro and Mark Roldan Elises in topping the 4x400m in 3:22.64, just a fraction of a second slower than the 3:22.10 mark of the Udtohan-powered NCR quartet in 2014.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.