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ILAGAN City—University of the Philippines (UP) clinched two more gold medals on the final day of competitions on Monday to emerge as the most successful team in the 2018 Ayala Philippine Athletics Championships at the Ilagan Sports Complex.

Alana Julianne Halaguena and Marjun Sulleza topped the girls’ 10,000-meter walk and boys 110-meter hurdles, respectively, to cap UP’s domination of the meet that netted the Fighting Maroons 14 gold, 16 silver and 11 bronze medals.

The 16-year-old Halaguena clocked 31 minutes and 17.5 seconds to win gold, while her teammate, Sally Campus, crossed in 32:11.5 to complete a 1-2 UP finish. Juliana Talaro of Team Titus took bronze with 32:29.5.

Under overcast skies with some drizzle, Sulleza streaked to the boys hurdles victory after a review of the photo finish equipment in the tournament sponsored by Ayala, Milo and the Philippine Sports Commission.

The 18-year-old pride of Koronadal City checked in at 14.92 seconds, four-tenths of a second faster than silver-medalist Bryan Dumaguit of University of Perpetual Help. John Wayne Benito of Tuguegarao City was third at 15.31 seconds.

The combined eight-gold haul of junior prospects Veruel Verdadero and Eliza Cuyom was not enough to push Dasmariñas City Athletics atop the heap as the Calabarzon athletes could only muster an 11-6-1 gold-silver-bronze tally.

It was déjà vu for Verdadero. In April’s Palarong Pambansa in Ilocos Sur, he went three-of-five in terms of gold-medal haul. In these competitions, he also missed a sweep and settled for a bronze medal (3:34.56) in the boys 4×400-meter behind UP (3:27.20) and winner Perpetual Help (3:25.19).

Danilo Fresnido, meanwhile, was one proud mentor as his protégés, Melvin Calano and Kenny Gonzales, beat him in men’s javelin.

Calano threw the spear to 63.55 meters, while Gonzales tallied 62.29 meters to outclass their coach, Fresnido, who had a 61.31-meter mark for the bronze medal.

Fresnido, who set the national record of 72.93-meter in the Laos Southeast Asian Games in 2009, was just happy to see the young stars taking the spotlight.

“It’s good to compete against young athletes because it inspires them,” he said.

Richard Salaño also cemented his status as the king of long-distance running when he grabbed his third gold medal in the men’s 5,000 meters.

A Private First Class in the Philippine Army, Salaño also won the 10,000-meter and 3,000-meter steeplechase early in the week.

Image credits: Nonoy Lacza


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