PAGADIAN -- Christian Paul Anor and Shermalyn Jalmaani dominated swimming while Pagadian City’s Michelle Ann Sampang Marianie Llogono bagged the first athletic golds at the start of the POC-PSC Philippine National Games Mindanao eliminations here on Friday.
A second fiddle to Manila’s Maurice Sacho Ilustre in the last Palarong Pambansa held in Tagum, Lanao del Norte last May, Anor showed himself a cut above the rest of the Mindanao swimmers, ruling all of his six events at the PGC Sports Arena pool.
The 16-year-old pride of Balanga, Davao Oriental kicked of his blitzkrieg by ruling the 400-meter freestyle in four minutes and 31.43 seconds before prevailing in the 200-meter backstroke (2:20.94), 100-meter free (56.31), 200-meter free (2:10.36), 100-meter back (1:05.40) and 1,500-meter freestyle (18:22.41) in adding to his golden haul.
“Masayang-masaya po kasi nag-qualify sa PNG national finals,” said the lanky Baculin National High School Grade 10 student after his eye-popping outing in this meet organized by the Philippine Olympic Committee and Philippine Sports Commission.
Anor will be targeting a sweep of all of his nine individual events when he sees action in the 200-meter individual medley, 50-meter back and 50-meter freestyle today in the sportsfest supported by the Zamboanga del Sur provincial government under Governor Antonio Cerilles.
Jalmaani, the youngest daughter of swimming legend Amman Jalmaani, was just as impressive with four golds, topping the girls 100-meter freestyle (1:12.77), 50-meter backstroke (39.09), 200-meter freestyle (2:38.32) while pacing the Zamboanga City tankers to victory in the 200-meter medley relay (2:36.48).
“Malamang magiging masaya po ang father ko kasi may chance ako maging national swimmer katulad niya,” said Jalmaani, 16, whose father had a glittering career in the 1960s and was a three-time Olympian.
Among the elder Jalmaani’s swimming highlights were two bronze medals in the 1966 Bangkok Asian Games and two silvers when Thailand got to host the continental sports showcase once again four years later.
Host Zamboanga del Sur likewise had reason to celebrate after Michelle Ann Sampang and Marianie Llogono of Pagadian City swept the women’s and girls 10,000-meter races at the track oval located at the center of the provincial capital.
Sampang ruled the women’s division in 42 minutes and 33.1 seconds while Llogono topped the girl’s division in 47.39.5.
Llogono is a product of the Zamboanga del Sur Sports Academy formed by Cerilles, whose province is celebrating its 63rd founding anniversary.
“Super duper happy. Simply overwhelmed,” said Sampang, 21, a silver medalist in the same event at the 2012 PRISAA Collegiate Games held in Cebu, of her breakthrough victory that earned her a ticket to next year’s POC-PNG national finals.
Misamis Oriental’s Efrelyn Demecer, the reigning Palaro record holder in the girls javelin set in Lanao del Norte, tried her hand in the discus throw and came away with a gold with a heave of 27.21 meters.
Sharing the spotlight were Zamboanga City’s Joey Albert Florendo and Davao City’s Exiquila Apao, who captured the gold medals in the men’s and women’s division of the blitz competitions of chess late Thursday evening.
Florendo, who won the Challenger’s division of the last year’s Philippine International Chess Championships, had 6.5 points in securing the gold while while Apao took top honors on the distaff side with six points. (PR)