IT was a surprise entry that turned into a gold medal for Prince Joey Lee and capped off the dominant showing of Cebu City’s tracksters on Day 2 of the Philippine National Games (PNG) in the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC).

In the unoffical medal tally on Monday,Cebu City took the lead with 14 gold medals, 11 silvers, and three bronzes. Gen. Santos City is second at 6-5-7, while Baguio City is third at 3-5-3.

Cebu won eight gold medals in track and field, two in cycling, one in swimming, two in weightlifting, and one in arnis.

Lee, a graduating Computer Engineering student in the University of Cebu (UC), did not know that he was listed to compete in the 5,000-meter men’s senior division in the afternoon after winning the gold medal in the 10,000m run in the morning.

He was in the oval only to watch the games but was shocked when his name was called for the 5,000m run. He rushed to pick up his spike shoes in the billeting area in Abellana National School.

Despite learning it late, Lee still delivered for Cebu City in a pulsating 5K race that was decided only after the last 50 meters en route to an emotional celebration from the usually calm Lee at the finish line.

Lee had an unofficial time of 15 minutes and 45 seconds, beating the runner from General Santos by a step. The official results in the 5K were not yet released as of press time. Lee finished his second PNG stint with two gold medals.

Earlier, Lee conquered the 10,000m run in 33:27, beating Erwin Bong Generalao of Baguio City by 16 seconds. Mark Anthony Ruto of General Santos City earned the bronze medal after clocking 38:04.

“I did not know I was in the 5,000m. Maybe coach (Arvin Loberanis) forgot that I will only compete in the 10,000m. He listed me in the 5,000m. But it’s a good thing since I won the gold medal,” said Lee.

The 21-year-old Lee was supposed to compete only in one event as he is preparing for the 23rd Jeju International Tourism Marathon Festival in Jeju Island, South Korea on May 27. He got a slot to the race in Korea after qualifying in the 7-Eleven Run Series.

Lee’s dominance mirrors that of the Cebu City track and field campaign on the second day. The team finished with six gold medals after getting two gold medals in the first day to improve its total gold medals to eight.

Bohol’s best

Jeselou Rebalde ruled the women’s 100m dash the other day and won the the 200m dash yesterday.

Rebalde, a third year Bachelor of Science education student major in Physical Education at the University of San Carlos (USC), is a native of Agusan del Norte. She was a regular fixture in the annual Palarong Pambansa in her elementary and secondary years before getting an athletic scholarship in Cebu.

Rebalde, a daughter of farmers, is the youngest out of 12 siblings and is the only one who attends college. She will hunt for her third gold medal in the 400m dash today.

Adding another gold medal was a formidable hurdler from Bohol, Riza Jane Vallente, who represents Cebu City, since there is no delegation from Bohol Province for this year’s PNG.

Vallente, a three-time 400m hurdle champion in the Palarong Pambansa, made her presence felt, winning the 400m hurdles Youth division.

Seth Abraham Pilapil, 19, captured a gold medal in the 200m men’s Juniors division after winning a silver medal in the 100m dash.

Ernest Ybañez was the last gold medalist for Day 2 after winning the decathlon event. Ybañez had the highest score after 10 events. He placed first in 100m, long jump, shot put, 400m, 110m hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, and javelin throw. He placed second in high jump and 1,500m run.

“Malingaw ko nga malipay kay naka inspire ko sa akong mga athetes unya ila sad kong tudluan unsay angay nako buhaton. Nalipay ko kay tanan nakong gi tudlo nila, ila sad gi tudlo nako sa pag duwa,” Ybañez said.

Cebu City track and field head coach Arvin Loberanis said that he was surprised by the track and field team’s performance. He said that they expected to compete and be at par against the other LGUs, but it was not on their mind to dominate.

“This was the fruit of the hard work of the athletes. I think the home court advantage has helped us. Also, the athletes have the pride to defend their home turf,” he said.

Over the pool, Karen Mae Indaya ended the gold medal drought for Cebu City after winning the 200-meter backstroke in the girls’ 16-Over in 2:48.24, beating Andrea Marie Punay (2:57.27) of General Santos City and Dorothy Miles Valdez (3:03.40) of Iligan City. (With Yvonne Inosante, CNU intern)