National athletes fight back to win in PNG
By: Julius Manicad (The Daily Tribune)

A day after the fall of the titans, three prominent members of the national team — cyclist Rustom, diver Rexel Ryan Fabriga and thrower Arnel Ferrera — dominated their respective events to reaffirm their status in the POC-PSC Philippine National Games yesterday.

Lim, a 19-year old sprint specialist from Nueva Ecija, stole the thunder from Team LBC Pilipinas riders Ronald Oranza and Denver Casayuran, by clocking three hours, 59 minutes and 48 seconds to clinch the gold medal in the 151.6-kilometer race in San Jose, Tarlac.

Oranza was 42 seconds behind followed by Casayuran and Team LBC Under-23 teammates Mark Bonzo and Riemon Lapaza.

In diving, the spotlight belonged to 2008 Beijing Olympian Fabriga, who registered 316.4 points to outshine fellow national team member Zardo Domenios (307.25) and Niño Carog (287.30) in the men’s 1-meter springboard at the Rizal Memorial diving area.

Cesil Domenios, on the other hand, pocketed the gold medal in the distaff side with 210.25 points while Rebecca Pahoyo and Rizza Jane Demenios settled for the silver and bronze, respectively, with 198.35 points and 164.15 points in this event sponsored by Ayala Corp., Bala Energy Drink, LBC, 7-Eleven, STI Colleges and Summit Mineral Water.

Ferrera, a seasoned Southeast Asian Games campaigner who already owns a number of medals, also shone as he dominated his pet event — the hammer throw — with a heave of 60.20 meters to clinch the gold medal over at the Philsports field.

At far second was Karl Francisco of UP Diliman with 46.55 meters while Jerro Perater of Philippine Air Force copped the bronze medal with 40.12 meters.

With their victories, Lim, Fabriga and Ferrera have survived the curse that hit other prominent members of the national team the past few days.

World champions Rubilen Amit and Francisco “Django” Bustamante were two of the casualties as they were beaten by unheralded foes, putting their positions in the squad in serious jeopardy.

Other winners in athletics were national team mainstays Danilo Fresnido in javelin throw and Henry Dagmil in long jump while aspiring athletes like Lamber Padua (10,000m walk); Chairy Palermo (high jump); Daveson Narido (2000m steeplechase)’ Charies Mae Violanta (shot put); Jomas Udtohan (boys’ 100m dash); Anfernee Lopena (juniors 100m dash); Jenyrose Rosales (junior women’s 100m dash); Mat Crespo (hammer throw); Jethro Esposo (10,000m walk); Mary Anthony Diesto (girls 100m) and Aldee Denuyo (long jump).