Bukidnon snares first six golds
Defending champion Bukidnon immediately made its presence felt in the opening day action of the 2008 Northern Mindanao Regional Athletic Association (NMRAA) Meet in Cagayan de Oro City.
Thriving in the centerpiece event that they are known to be a force to reckon with, the mighty athletes from the landlocked province of Bukidnon on Wednesday hauled off a total of 6 golds in the initial staging of athletics competition off the dusty field of Don Gregorio Pelaez Sports Center.
Also barging in the medal circle of this 12-team rivalry are the financially cash-strapped Cagayan de Oro, host Misamis Oriental and darkhorse bet Tangub.
Accounting for Bukidnon’s gold runs are Lady Mae Tagupa (800 m-run), Sharmaine Quirog (shotput) and Hans Edgar Cantones (long jump) in secondary level and Laime Dayanay (shotput), Rey Ann Salazar (long jump), and Emelina dela Peña (800 m-run) in elementary category.
Shaking off the seemingly never-ending taunts they’re dealing with for wearing the poorest kind of uniforms, Coaa (Cagayan de Oro Athletic Association) delegation bagged a pair of golds through the efforts of Kerby Ubay-Ubay (800 m-run) and distaff counterpart Alfonson Jerald Nazario (long jump) in elementary level. Tangub matched Coaa’s two-gold output through the heroics of secondary hopefuls Edward Paul Paler in shotput and Regine Ganiolan in girls’ long jump contest.
The host squad’s lone survivor on the tracks, John Mark Labtan made sure Misamis Oriental won’t close the day empty-handed by pocketing the gold in secondary boys’ 800 meter run.
“We don’t have the kind of financial support that Bukidnon has to the tune of P4-million but the home ground athletes are in high spirit. It’s still a long way to go in as far as the fight for the overall supremacy is concerned,” said Porferio “Jun” Padinit, assistant Coaa team manager. In what could be a complete turnaround from majority else’s expectations, Bukidnon outshone the heavy favorites Cagayan de Oro and Iligan in last year’s Palarong Pampook at the Mindanao Civic Center in Tubod, Lanao del Norte.
The Bukidnon juggernauts topped both the elementary and secondary rivalries in taking home the Regional Palaro title for the first time in many years.
Rival teams were greatly surprised then when Bukidnon flourished in chess — normally dominated by Cagayan de Oro — and some of the ballgame events apart from stamping its class in the medal-rich swimming and athletics competitions. Asked of their chances for a possible “two-peat”, Bukidnon athletes repeated what they’ve proudly claimed earlier that “we’re taking Enervon everyday” to overwhelm the opposition.