Monday, April 26, 2010

Dacera, 15-yr-old Lukang rule

Dacera, 15-yr-old Lukang rule
By Mars G. Alison
Cebu Daily News
April 25, 2010

Nikita Dacera and 15-year old Palarong Pambansa mutliple gold medalist Erika Lukang overcame slightly rough waters and jellyfish stings to rule the men's and women's divisions in the 5K competitive category of the 3rd Olango Challenge yesterday at the east wing of the Tambuli Beach Club.

Dacera of the Dadiangastorpedoes Swim Club successfully relegated closest rival Kiefer Ticao of the Philippine Center for Excellence in Aquatic Sports (PCEAS) once again to second place and become the first three-time champion in the men's division of the open sea race.

Dacera had a 25.40-second advantage over Ticao, who crossed the finish line in 56 minutes and 56.06 seconds.

Dacera did not disappoint those who pledged that he would be able to finish the long-distance open-water swimming marathon in an hour or under.

Cebu's Noel Caneda of the Cebu Blue Marlins Swim Club (CBMSC) prevented a local shutout in the top three spots as he salvaged third place with a time of one hour, eight minutes and 5.09 seconds.

In the distaff side of the 5K competitive category, spectators were given a chance to see the immense competition that Lukang of PCEAS and Loren Dale Echavez of the University of San Carlos (USC) engaged in at the recently-held 53rd Palarong Pambansa in Tarlac.

"I was surprised to see her when I got here but it's okay," said Echavez, who lost her 800m freestyle Palaro record to Calabarzon's Lukang.

Lukang and Echavez both swam in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m events in the Palaro.

The Calabarzon tanker relegated Central Visayas' strongest bet to second place in the 200m, 400m and 800m but Echavez came back with a vengeance by resetting a 12-year Palaro record in their 100m showdown.

Lukang, a surprise entry in this event organized by the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) in partnership with the Philippine Aquatic Sports Association (PASA), added a new dimension to the much-awaited confrontation between Echavez and CBMSC's Paula Abigail Vega.

However, experience was not much on defending champion Vega's side as she succumbed to first-timers Lukang and Echavez.

Lukang came in first with Echavez in second and Vega at third.

Asked why she didn't surge ahead of Lukang when she was so close, "I chose to just follow in her heels because I was scared I might get lost or go off course," Echavez said.

Lukang clocked 1:04:38.46, while Echavez crossed the finish line in 1:05:20.72 and Vega finished with a time of 1:08:11.85.

Both Lukang and Vega got points for their endeavor being PASA members and a chance to qualify in the Asian Open Water World Cup in Hong Kong in November and the 2nd Asian Beach Games in Muscat, Oman the following month.

Echavez, on the other hand, revealed that her mother will be talking to her coach for her possibile entry into the PASA.

The bemedalled Cebuano tanker has opted to stay with USC for her college studies despite several offers from Manila universities.

Echavez's older sister Lhoriz, a member of the RP triathlon team, ruled the women's 2.5K category with a time of 37.58.94. Finishing second to Lhoriz was Team Shangri-La's Frijie Laude (49:21.85.) 

The men's 2.5K category was dominated by Team Imperial Palace's Jason Ong (38:14.80), who relegated teammate Marcial Hermoso (44:26.69) to second place and Charles Fletcher (45:21.33) of Curl-Burke Masters to third.

The men's 1.5K category had another Team Imperial Palace tanker Rey Suerte clinching first place with a time of 30:44.56, while another Echavez sibling, Alexander, also of USC settled for second place in 30:59.91. Team Imperial Palace's Philomer Rubio salvaged third place with his time of 35:07.99.

The distaff side had Alali Ada Villocino of Team IHK notching first place with her time of 42:25.90 and Mary Grace Ventic of Unattached in second with 1:06:52.79.

The men's 5K fun category was ruled by Unattached's Franz Baguio (1:09:51.14) with Team Imperial Palace's Rico Enriquez (1:10:34.48) placing second and Yoshimitsu Tadauchi (1:13:36.80) also of Unattached finishing third.

Jose Antonio Aboitiz, PBSP Visayas chairman, kept true to those who pledged that he would finish the race in under two hours after he crossed the finish line in 1:28:34.99, good enough for fifth place in the category and ensuring a good donation to the event's cause.

The 3rd Olango Challenge hopes to raise P1.2 million through pledges of friends of organizers and participants to build a composting toilet for the Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary and other Olango barangays; to be used in setting up water catchments and to fund an inland reforestration in public areas in Olango.

The proceeds of the 1st and 2nd Olango Challenge allowed for a two-classroom building to be built at the Candagsao Elementary School in Olango providing for a much better learning environment for the children.