MANILA, Philippines – Tagbilaran's Gabriel Manigque led a quartet of swimmers who swept all of their five events, even as Cebu City's Rick Angelo Sotto was poised to do the same in athletics in the Batang Pinoy Games Visayas regional championships in Dumaguete on Tuesday.
Surprising even himself, Manique capped his fruitful campaign in style by ruling the boys' 13-15-year-old 200-meter freestyle race in two minutes and .07 second for his fifth individual gold at the close of the swimming competitions in 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 breastroke (1:23.59) and 50-meter freestyle (30.69).
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," said the 15-year-old Manigque, a Grade 8 varsity swimmer at University of the East. "It's like acing a test."
The 6-foot teenager could not hide his delight at the surprising outcome, and vowed to train even harder for next year's Palarong Pambansa in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. Manique failed to win a single medal in the 2017 Palaro in Antique last April.
"He wants to be able to swim for the country one day," said Buboy Manigque, Gabriel's father and himself a former high school swimming standout. "I hope he gets noticed with this performance."
Aklan handily took overall honors in swimming with a final tally of 15 golds, 10 silvers, and four bronzes. Bacolod placed second (8-67), and Ormoc City, Leyte, was a close third (8-4-6).
Meanwhile, Sotto burst into the spotlight after increasing his haul to four gold medals in track-and-field. He captured the boys' triple jump title, and was a member of the triumphant Cebu City team in the 4x100-meter relay.
A Grade 7 student at Ateneo de Cebu, Sotto admits that his triumph in the triple jump, with a leap of 13.57-meters in his sixth and final attempt, was lucky.
"I knew my teammate (Rex Ammangpang) was stronger than me in this event," he explained.
Sotto, who also swept the boys high jump (1.67) and long jump (6.29) crowns, will try for a fifth gold medal in the 4x400-meter relay on Wednesday, which will earn him the distinction of being the most outstanding athlete in track and field.
In other athletics 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.
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