Record feat Baguio belle’s ticket to SEAG?

Record feat Baguio belle’s ticket to SEAG?
By: Joey Villar (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - Baguio City’s Jessa Mangsat firmed up her bid for a spot in the national team as she came through with a record-breaking feat in women’s 3,000m steeplechase in the PSC-POC National Games at the Philports Arena’s track oval in Pasig City yesterday.

Mangsat clocked 11 minutes, 25.70 seconds to claim the gold medal and eclipse the four-year-old national mark of 11:28.54 set by UST’s Jean Palencia in the UAAP track and field competitions.

It also put the former University of Baguio standout in a strong position to earn a berth in the national team set to compete in this year’s Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar.

Fast-rising Christopher Ulboc also took the gold in men’s 3,000m steeplechase in the absence of injured national team mainstay Rene Herrera. He timed 9:05.65.

“I hope I’ll be given a chance to make it to the national team,” said the 22-year-old Ulboc, a native of Tangub, Misamis Occidental who won four gold medals in one UAAP season while competing for Far Eastern U, in Filipino.

Rosie Villarito also shared the spotlight by winning the women’s javelin gold with a 48.55-meter throw. It was, however, far from her personal best of 52.70 and from her best performance this year of 49.46 she posted in the final leg of the Asian Grand Prix in Chonburi, Thailand.

In women’s high jump, Joeann Bermudo dominated the field and took the gold with a 1.59-meter leap.

Over at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines grounds in Sta. Mesa, Jezreel Mitzi and Kareel Meer Hongitan and Gaway Tricia Bomogao of Baguio City topped archery’s team recurve for junior women while AIM-X’s Luis Gabriel Moreno, John Philip Santiago and Michael Cabral ruled the boys’ side.

Over at the Rizal Tennis Center, Marian Jade Capadocia downed Maika Tanpoco, 6-3, 6-3, Clarice Patrimonio slammed Khim Iglupas, 6-1, 6-1, and Roxanne Resma bashed Patricia Paez, 6-1, 6-0, to advance to the semis.

Meanwhile, IM Oliver Dimakiling hurdled his final round assignment then edged World Cup-bound GM Mark Paragua, GM Joey Antonio and another rival in the tiebreak to clinch the blitz chess gold, also at PUP.

Dimakiling downed Air Force’s Raymond Salcedo in the seventh and last round to finish tied with Paragua, Antonio and Caloocan City’s Alcon John Datu on top with six points.

But Dimakiling took the gold with the highest tiebreak score with Paragua, who placed third in the Asian Continental Chess Championship dubbed “Manny Pacquiao Cup” last Sunday to clinch a World Cup berth, and Antonio settling for silver and bronze, respectively.

Meanwhile, GM Eugene Torre flashed vintage form and scored 2.5 points in the first three rounds to stay in early contention in rapid chess.

Torre, 62, outclassed John Persius Orozco in the third round to stay half-a-point behind Paragua, Antonio and seven others in the seven-round tournament.

Although he’s now more into organizing tournaments and helping the national team in training, Torre still took time out to participate in the annual event serving as part of the selection process for members of the national teams vying in this year’s SEA Games in Myanmar.

“They say we need to participate in the PNG so I’m here,” Torre told The STAR.

Torre, the only Filipino who made it to the Candidates Matches, reaching the quarterfinals and eventually losing to Hungarian GM Zoltan Ribli in 1983, also posed for photo ops and signed autographs for the fans during breaks.

Torre also owns the most number of World Chess Olympiad participation with 20 along with another Hungarian GM Lajos Portisch highlighted by 17 consecutive appearances on Board One.

Torre has formed the Eugene Torre Foundation that recently organized the Asian Continental Chess Championship at the Midas Hotel and Casino in Pasay City.

Antonio, a many-time National Open champion, beat Paragua in the final round, foiling his 29-year-old rival from clinching the gold medal. Paragua actually led the field going into the final round and needed only a draw to capture the gold.

Datu, meanwhile, stunned newly minted IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia of Manila but finished with the lowest tiebreak score and wound up fourth.

In women’s play, Woman IM Catherine Perenia finished with six points then nipped Jon Ira dela Cruz of Adamson in the tiebreaker to snare the gold. Dela Cruz took the silver medal.

Woman FIDE Master Jan Jodilyn Fronda, another Olympiad veteran, copped the bronze with 5.5 points.

Other category winners were Cebu’s Diego Abraham Claro (boy’s junior division) and Marikina City’s Jean Karen Enriquez (girls junior division).

PSC commissioner Jolly Gomez and GM Eugene Torre ushered in the tournament with GM Jayson Gonzales as tournament director and Gene Poliarco as chief arbiter.