TAGBILARAN’S Gabriel Manigque led a quartet of swimmers who swept all of their five events while Cebu City’s Rick Angelo Sotto was poised to do the same in athletics in the Batang Pinoy (BP) Games Visayas regional championships on Tuesday here.
In a feat that surprised even himself, Manigque capped his fruitful campaign in style by ruling the boys 13-15-year-old 200-meter freestyle race in two minutes and .07.05 second for his fifth straight individual gold at the close of the swimming competitions at the Lorenzo G. Teves Aqua Center.
Joining Manigque in the ranks of multiple achievers was Bohol provincemate Ange Lyn Decabo, who bagged the mints in the girls 13-15 100-meter breaststroke (1:23.59) and 50-meter freestyle (30.69) in the meet organized and supported by the Philippine Sports Commission.
Jennuel Booh de Leon of powerhouse Aklan also picked up a pair of golds in the boys 12-under division in the 200-meter freestyle (2:25.46) and 200-meter butterfly race while Bohol’s Chloe Sophia Laurente added the girls 12-under 200-meter butterfly gold (2:53.37) to her tally in duplicating the feat of their senior swimmers.
“This is unbelievable. It’s like acing a test,” said Manigque, 15, a Grade 8 varsity swimmer at University of the East, of his accomplishments in the sportsfest also supported by the Dumaguete City government led by Mayor Felipe Mariano “Ipe” Remollo.
The lanky yet well-built six-footer could not hide his delight at the surprising outcome and vowed to train hard for next year’s Palarong Pambansa in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, after laying a big fat egg in the 2017 edition held in San Jose, Antique edition last April.
“He (Gabriel) wants to be able to swim for the country one day. I hope he gets noticed by this performance,” Boboy Manigque, the young swimmer’s father-coach and a former high school swimming standout, bared of his son’s ambitions.
Aklan handily took swimming overall honors with a tally of 15 gold, 10 silver and 4 bronze medals, Bacolod placed second (8-6-7) and Ormoc City, Leyte, was a close third (8-4-6)
Under the radar in the first few days of the trackfest at the Gov. Mariano Perdices Stadium, Sotto’s exploits could no longer be ignored after boosting his haul to four gold in capturing the boys triple jump title and being a member of the triumphant Cebu City 4×100-meter relay squad (47.3 seconds).
A Grade 7 student at the Ateneo de Cebu, Sotto admitted that his triumph in the triple jump with a leap of 13.57 meters in his sixth and final attempt “was lucky because I knew my teammate Rex (Ammangpang) was stronger than me in this event.”
Sotto, who also swept the boys high jump (1.67) and long jump (6.29) crowns, was gunning for his fifth gold in the 4×400-meter relays tomorrow (Wednesday), which would earn him the distinction of being the most outstanding athlete in track and field.
In other athletic results, Leyte scored a golden treble as Jayvee Alvarez and Chin Chin Alkuino swept the boys and girls 800-meter finals in times of 2:10.05 and 2:27.7, respectively, while teammate Christian Zamora topped the boys discus throw with a heave of 36 meters flat.
As of 12 noontime Tuesday, Cebu Province paced the overall standings with 16 golds, 17 silvers and 25 bronzes, host Dumaguete City was running second (16-10-9), Aklan was not too far behind in third spot (14-8-5) while Cebu City was fourth (12-24-26).