CEBU City --Former Palarong Pambansa standout Nicole Meah Pamintuan of Sta. Rosa City provided the worthiest of opening-day performances in the 2018 Philippine National Games at the CEbu City Sports Complex here Sunday.
Pamintuan swept her three events in swimming -- girls’ 16 years-over 200-meter individual medley, 100-meter freestyle and 50-meter backstroke -- to underscore
The 18-year-old campaigner, who is hoping to earn a slot to the Philippine team in the coming Asian Games in August, clocked 2:32.87 in the 200-meter individual medley, 1:02.12 in the 100-meter freestyle and 32.64 seconds in 50-meter backstroke.
Pamintuan won over Precilla Aquino of La Union ( 2:39.33) and Claire Jaudian of General Santos City (2:39.99) in the 200-m IM; beat Lovely Pauline Floresca of Zambales ( 1:06/65) and Razaer Cabajr of Cebu City (1:09.03) in the 100-m IM; and outclassed Justin Reign Garrido of Cebu (37.91 and Miles Dorothy Valdez of Iligan ( 39.19) in the 50-m backstroke.
“I want to come up with a strong performance because I really want to compete in the Asian Games. If I won’t qualify in the individual events, I’m hoping to make it to the relay team,” said Pamintuan, who also captured five gold medals in the National Age Group Swimming Championship recently.
Also making waves were David Dela Rosa of Las Pinas City, who topped the boys 200-meter individual medley with a time of 2:23.60 and 50-meter backstroke with a time of 28.79 seconds for Las Pinas’ two gold medals; Camilo La Torre of General
City, who dominate the boys’ 100-meter freestyle with 57.87 seconds and boys’ 1,500-meter freestyle with 18:21.03; and Kelsey Jaudian of General Santos City, who ruled the girls’ 800-meter freestyle with a time of 10:26.07.
Over at the Cebu City Sports Complex, comebacking Cristabel Martes of Baguio City topped the senior women’s 10,000-meter run to clinch the first gold medal in the event organized by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC)
Martes, a 38-year old veteran from Benguet,timed 40 minutes and 11.5 seconds to rule the event ahead of Ruffa Sorongon of Cebu City (41:16.8) and Sandi Abahan of Baguio (44:31.3).
“I’m a single mother and this is for my daughter,” said Martes, who is scheduled to leave for Jeju Island in South Korea next Sunday for the 23rd Jeju International Tourism Marathon Festival 2018 at the Gujwa Life Sports Park.
Other early gold medal winners in track and field were national team member Narcisa Atienza of Baguio City, Rogelio de Borja of Mandaluyong City and Ronette Ayuda of Cebu City.
Atienza, a member of the national team for more than a decade already, clinched the gold in the the senior women’s shot put event with a heave of 12.25 meters. De Borja shone in the senior men’s division with a heave of 12.49 meters.
Ayuda, on the other hand, ruled the senior women’s high jump event with 1.50 meters.
Kristie Kay Vinco of Cebu City and Lyka Casta settled for the silver and bronze medals with an identical marks of 1.40 meters.
The battle for supremacy came after President Duterte announced the increase of prize money --from P5-million to P10-million -- for the overall champion in the week-long competition.
In his well-applauded speech during the colorful opening ceremony at the Cebu City Sports Complex late Saturday, President Duterte also raised the runner-up prize to P8-million (from P4-million), and third prize money to P6-million (from P3-millon).
In chess, Albay looms as the early favorite with GMs John Paul Gomez and Jayson Gonzales and WGM Janelle Mae Frayna leading the way at Robinson’s Galleria-Cebu
Gomez is the highest-rated player with an ELO of 2461 in the 65-player field.
GM Rogelio Antonio Jr. of Calapan, Oriental Mindoro is the No.2 seed with ELO 2452.