Sunset in Zamboanga City in the southern Philippines. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines - The Calabarzon or Region IV-A has taken the early lead by collecting 9 golds, 4 silvers, and 3 bronzes with in the Private Schools Athletic Association Games in Zamboanga City in Mindanao.
Powerhouse Western Visayas was off to a good start on the first day of the Pgames by coming in a strong second in the medal standings with 4 golds, 6 silvers, and 5 bronzes.
Close at the heels at third place is Central Visayas with 2 golds, 4 silvers, and six bronzes.
Calabarzon is one of the regions of the Philippines composed of five provinces - Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon located in southwestern Luzon.
Western Visayas, a perennial contender in the PRISAA Meet is expected to dominate the ball games, particularly, football represented by Iloilo.
Swimmers from Region VI also made their presence felt with four gold medals courtesy of Ronel Duran in the 100 men’s butterfly (1:05.12), Reynalisa Catapang in the women’s butterfly (1:16.45), Joseph Gloria in the 200 back (2:41.38) and in the men’s 200 freestyle relay (1:47.28).
Meanwhile, swimmer Lorendale Echavez from University of San Carlos sustained her winning and record-breaking ways yesterday to boost her collection to five golds at the Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex.
The 17-year-old swimming standout took the gold in the women’s 800 and 100-meter free – both in new meet marks -- then capped a sizzling 3-for-3 stint at the pool with a strong anchor leg as Central Visayas ruled the 200 freestyle relay in two minutes and 2.34 seconds.
Looming as Echavez’s biggest threat was Region 4-A’s Jaevico Dalay, who boosted his haul to four golds following wins in the men’s 1,500 free (19:08.11) and 200 backstroke (2:28.04) to follow up on earlier victories in the 400 individual medley and 4x100 freestyle relay on the opening day.
The 5-foot-4 La Salle Dasmarinas sophomore’s gold medal duel with Echavez could go down the wire with the 400 free, 200 IM, 4X100 IM and 4x200 freestyle relays still to go in his schedule.
Sharing the spotlight with Echavez and Dalay was another La Salle Dasma swimmers, Anna Jemimah Puyo after bagging her third gold in the 200 breaststroke (3:07.50) in yesterday’s action counting the 400 IM and 4x100 freestyle triumphs she had earlier.
The Calabarzon tankers continued to showcase their deep bench as they picked up six victories in 14 events, including Rizal Jurado in the men’s 100 free (57.78), Kaezer Salazar in the men’s 50 back (31.66), and Kimberly Briones in the women’s 50 back (34.51).
In athletics, Region 9 bagged two golds through Charito Bajuyo in the women’s high jump (1.55) and Peter Paul Padel, who emerged as the fastest man of Games by clinching the 100 dash in 10.7 seconds.
Cordillera Autonomous Region’s Katherine Santos was the fastest woman in 12.1 seconds while teammate Jahnzel Udelando topped the discus throw with a heave of 28.4 meters.
Region 11’s Analyn Gonzaga captured the women’s 5,000-meter walk in 31:53.9.
Baseball competitions saw Region 4-A blitz the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, 19-0; Region 11 subdue Region 4-B, 8-0; and Region 5 blast Region 9.
In softball action, Region 11 trounced Region 10, 13-6; Region 6 clobbered Region 7, 17-0; and CAR ripped Region 2, 14-3.(Philippine News Agency, The Visayan Daily Star)