MANILA, Philippines – Lake Buhi stunned heavily favored Philippine Army with a come-from-behind win to cap the first leg of the 2013 Cobra Energy Drink Dragon Boat Regatta over the weekend at the Manila Bay.
Deprived of victory in last year’s fourth leg on an infraction, the squad of fishermen and farmers living around Lake Buhi, Camarines Sur rallied in the last 20 meters to surge past the Army in narrowly ruling the men’s 300-meter Open division.
With only three days of practice, the Bicolano paddlers checked in a with a time of one minute and 19.52 seconds in relegating the Army paddlers, most of them members of the triumphant squad in the 2011 IDBF world championship in Tampa Bay, Florida, to second place (1:19.9).
Buhi-Camsur placed third (1:25.54) while Philippine Coast Guard (1:30.05) was fourth in the opening leg of the series sponsored by Cobra Energy Drink and organized by the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation (PDBF).
“Eto ay nagpapakita lamang na mayroon kaming pang-international na mga rowers,” said proud San Pedro, Buhi barangay captain Joefred Balagot, who has been supporting the squad for nearly a year now.
“Gusto naming talagang manalo laban sa Army para mapatunayan yong ginawa naming noong isang taon ay hindi tsamba,” said team captain Roderick Abion, recalling last year’s outcome when they wound up on top but entered the wrong lane at the finish line.
Army team captain, Staff Sgt. Usman Anterola, cited that they only had two weeks of practice before the race.
“’Di rin namin makita ‘yong mga sumusunod na kalaban kasi nasa outer lane kami,” he added.
“The accomplishment of the Lake Buhi squad shows that there are strong dragon boat rowing potentials outside Metro Manila and we are proud that our event has been a means of discovering these talents,” noted Cobra senior brand assistant Karlene Sebastian.
Triton A captured the women’s Open division in 1:40.28 with PCG (1:41.27) and RCP Sea Dragon (1:49.05) placing second and third, respectively, in the competition also backed by the Manila Sports Council.
PCG captured the mixed standard championship (1:24.96), followed by Triton A (1:26.18) while Manila Ocean Park was third (1:27.07) in the series that has grown in popularity since Cobra, the official energy drink of the PDBF, began supporting it four years ago.