STA. CRUZ, Laguna, Philippines – The National Capital Region took the high school boys volleyball and baseball and girls basketball gold medals to highlight another dominant showing in the Palarong Pambansa, which drew to a close at the Laguna Sports Complex here yesterday.
The Big City, represented by University of the East, rallied from a 7-10 deficit in the deciding fifth set and carved out a heart-pounding 20-25, 25-23, 27-25, 24-26, 15-12 victory over defending champion Calabarzon to the disappointment of the cheering home crowd.
NCR’s lady cagers slammed Central Luzon, 77-54, to capture another gold in ballgames.
Over at the University of the Phl grounds in Los Baños, NCR needed just four innings in a surprise 7-0 rout of Mimaropa for the baseball mint.
The triple-kill served as NCR’s encore, having clinched the overall title in both levels as early as Friday with medal hauls of 46-28-25 (gold-silver-bronze) in the elementary level and 61-36-31 in the secondary class where they extended their mighty rule to 13 straight years.
The hosts had something to be proud of as its secondary men’s basketball team (composed of San Beda players) beat fancied NCR (a selection from Xavier, Mapua, National U and Santo Tomas), 86-80, in a gripping finale at the packed, air-conditioned basketball gym inside the main hub.
It was Calabarzon’s first gold since lording it over the field in the 2011 meet in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte.
Mimaropa also grabbed the spotlight after its secondary boys squad retained the football crown in grounding Far Eastern U of NCR, 2-0, on a header by Ramil Feliciano and a spectacular strike by eventual MVP Patrick Valenzuela.
“Gusto lang talaga ng mga batang maglaro (The boys just wanted to play),” said Mimaropa coach Michael Jun Salmo, whose team was composed of players from Luzviminda National High School in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
Western Visayas showed why it is also a volleyball powerhouse after its girls team routed Ateneo de Davao, 25-18, 25-12, 25-23, to regain the secondary gold it last won two years back in Dapitan.
Its softball team was more impressive as it reigned supreme for the fourth straight year with a 7-2 bashing of NCR.
In chess, the NCR’s Daryl Unix Samantila and Calabarzon’s Marie Anoinette San Diego won four golds apiece with wins in both secondary individual and team blitz and standard events.
Socsargen, which is bidding to host next year’s Palaro in Koronadal, South Cotabato, emerged the boxing champion – thanks to victories by brothers Christian Pitt (light pepper weight) and Crizsander Laurente (pin) at the provincial capitol Friday night.
Other boxing winners were Central Visayas’ Lloyd Antoque (light mosquito), Western Visayas’ Neil Cyril Basillote (mosquito) and NCR’s Jaye Arre Arcilla (light fly).