LINGAYEN, Pangasinan, Philippines – Olongapo City’s Jamleth Marie Villanueva splashed her way to three gold medals while Baguio City’s Erwin Generalao emerged the first golden winner of the Northern Luzon leg of the Philippine Sports Commission’s Batang Pinoy Games at separate venues here yesterday.
Villanueva, 12, topped the 200m backstroke and 200m butterfly for girls 12-years-old-and-under at the Dagupan Swimming Center then teamed up with Elan Mae Selvido, Heleina Raine Teope and younger sister Jether Marie to power Olongapo to victory in the 4x50m medley relay.
Earlier, Generalao, 15, dominated the 5,000m for 14-15 boys by clocking 17 minutes and 18.9 seconds to emerge the first gold medal winner in the five-day meet. He bested Candon, Ilocos Sur’s Ace Hipona (18:48.3) and Baguio teammate Reymark Quezada (18:54.3) at the Narciso Ramos Sports Complex.
Villanueva, a Grade Seven student at Olongapo Regional High School, timed 2:51.82 in the 200m back, beating San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan’s Christian Llanne Vallejos (2:57.16) and La Union’s Thea Isabelle Langit (2:59.14).
She followed it up with another victory in the 200m fly where she clocked 3:03.02, enough to defeat Bulacan’s Angelica Samelo (3:06.19) and Malolos, Bulacan’s Denisse Crystel Cruz (3:27.97).
Villanueva, daughter of a police superintendent at Camp Olivas, Pampanga, hopes to rack up more gold medals as she is set to vie in the 50m fly, 100m back and fly and 4x50m free relay in the last two days of the competitions.
“I hope I could win some more gold medals in the coming days,” said Villanueva, who took up the sport a few years ago to combat asthma.
Rafael Barreto, of Guiguinto, Bulacan, also hogged the spotlight as he ruled the 100m and 400m free for boys 12 years and under.
The 11-year-old Barreto checked in at 1:01.67 to claim the 100m gold then posted a 4:54.29 clocking in the 400m free for a two-gold haul that also netted him a spot in the national finals in Iloilo City this December.
Dexter John Lacuna, who’s elder brother Jessie Khing competed in the London Olympics a couple of months ago, likewise made some heads turn by ruling the 400m free for boys 13-15 in 4:50.98.
James Galima, representing Candon, Ilocos Sur, topped the 2,000m in 7:12.8 while Pangasinan’s Briceline Soriano made the host province and its Gov. Amado Espino Jr., proud by copping the gold in the high jump with a leap of 4.07m.
Also delivering a gold for Pangasinan was Teofilo Manawat, who snared the shot put win with a heave of 11.18m.
Other Pangasinan mints were provided for by Irene Tabora (girls’ 14-15 high jump) Rona Joy Casem (girls’ 13-under 2,000m walk), Rolando Bandarlipe (boys’ 13-under 2000m walk), Rico Navarro (boys’ 13-under long jump), Karen Cayetano (girls’ 14-15 shot put).
In baseball, which is holding its national finals here, Muntinlupa leaned on a pair of crucial runs on the bottom of the third inning to turn a one-run deficit to a 4-3 victory over Pangasinan and then whitewashed Tarlac 2, 5-0, later to seize the solo lead.
In the other baseball results, Manila leaned on a four-run binge at the bottom of the first inning to turn back Tarlac 1, 5-4, while Parañaque City won via default over Taralc 2 to also post its first triumph.