Fil-Ams Stuart and Thomas
Airnel T. Abarra for www.pinoyathletics.info
SANTA CRUZ, LAGUNA- Fil-Am Caleb Stuart (PAF) impressed the crowd by throwing in 16.52m which is quite near the SEA Games shot-put record of 17.74m which is still behind his personal best marked at 17.88m. Stuart’s performance today jousted SEA Games silver medalist Adi Aliffudin Hussin of Malaysia (MAS) who landed 2nd place by putting in 16.21m. The California based performance in this year’s nationals makes him a strong contender in the 2015 Singapore SEA Games this June. Meanwhile homegrown Elizer Sunang landed 3rd with a throw landing in at 16.06m. NCAA Champion John Albert Mantua was fourth in 13.33m.
Stuart came back to claim his second gold for the PAF-A with a throw of 64.81m also above the old SEA Record but outside his 68.66m heave at the Ben Brown in Los Angeles last week. SEA Bronze medalist Jackie Wong Siew Cheer (MAS) was second in 63.71m PB. With 4x former SEA Gold medalist Arniel Ferrera of PAF-A in third.
Fil-am Sprinter leads in the century Dash
Team Philippine Air Force’s Brandon Thomas does a curtain raiser in the 100m dash during Day One of the 2015 PATAFA National Open Athletics Championships here at the Laguna Sports Complex, Brgy. Bubukal Sta. Cruz, Laguna on March 19. The Angeles City born and Texas Tech University stand-out clocked a stunning 10.72 seconds which made him leading in the semi-finals of the tournament edging Eddie Edward Jr. of Malaysia who timed 10.96 and Noli Torres who registered a 10.97 seconds finish. Thomas who just trained last year due to a 3 year competition hiatus is now ranked no. 3 in the 100m Men rankings in the Philippines which is still led by Eric Cray who is not present on this year’s nationals with a time of 10.52 and followed by the 10.59 mark of Bryan Mercado. Thomas holds a personal best of 10.56.
Relay spots settled for SEA Games Mens 4×400
Perhaps the most anticipated event of the National Open was the mens 400m Finals which would determine the relay composition for Team Philippines. The first four men to cross the finish line would have the honor of carrying on the tradition of winning the SEA Games 4×400, which the Philippines had won in 2011 and 2013.
When the dust settled it was an exciting display of race tactics with two older athletes holding off two upcomers. Bigyan and Alejan led the charge early with Bigyan closing the stagger on SEA Games Champion Archand Bagsit. It looked liked the 20 year old Bigyan who holds the national junior record had the edge until the last 20 meters when the experienced moves coming from the 24 year old Bagsit showed he was still the man to beat defending his national title in a time of 47.26. His training partner Alejan the SEA Games SIlver medalist was second in 47.28. Bigyan knocked nearly a second off his personal best with 47.43, and Johan Caido of Baguio improved his best also by nearly a second with 47.62. The top four would represent the Philippines in the SEA Games joining Eric Cray and Jesson Cid.
The two other members of the SEA Games 2013 team Del Prado was not able to progress to the finals and Julius Nierras the 2007 SEA Games champion finished last in the final.
Donovant snatches the win in the Men’s Long Jump
The drama continued with an epic conclusion to the mens long jump which would prove harder to decide than the 4×400. Already three athletes had qualified for the SEA Games with only two athletes to be selected. Dagmil the three times and defending SEA Games champion (7.80), Filam Donovant Ariola (7.64 the national indoor record holder) and 2011 SEA Games Bronze medalist Benigno Marayag (7.57). The SEA Standard was set at 7.53.
With the tension building on and off the track oval for the decision who would represent the Philippines at the 2015 SEA Games in the mens long jump. As only 2 athlete per country per event. Dagmil due to an injury was sidelined in what would go down as one of the greatest long jump battles in the history of national open championships.
It was clear that a new national champion would be crowned with Dagmil having won this meet for the last 10 years.
The surprise came early with Marayag and Ariola fouling alot of their early jumps. The surprise came from the youngster 20 year old Julian ‘Happy Clowns’ Fuentes the Palaro Record Holder who improved his personal best from 7.30 to 7.55 and took the lead.
However the 6’1 Donovant would snatch the win on his last jump with a 7.59m outdoor PB. Clowns was second in 7.55m and Marayag third in 7.43m. NCAA Champion Harry Diones was fourth in 7.29m PB.
Medina breaks own Junior Record
Francis Medina broke his own National Junior Record in the Junior 110 Hurdles (.991m) with a run of 14.23. Medina a dean’s list student at Perpetual Help Dalta shattered his own mark he set at the ASEAN School Games of 14.52. Alexis Soqueno (Negros) 14.68 and Alvin Vergel (TMS) 14.88 who will go head to head at the Palaro took the silver and bronze.
The Mens Hurdles was won by Muhd Ajmal Hasan of Malaysia in 14.23, Hasan is Malaysia’s third best hurdler. Behind him was UAAP Champion Patrick Unso 14.28 and 2014 PNG Champion Clinton Kingsley Bautista 14.66.