BRISKING in almost all corners of the fight, COAA (Cagayan de Oro Athletic Association) Team finally redeemed itself in the 2010 Northern Mindanao Palarong Pampook which ended here Friday at the Don Gregorio Pelaez Sports Center.
Aping what it did some three years ago in Lanao del Norte made the homeground delegation as champions again in both the elementary and secondary levels of the Palarong Pambansa qualifier.
"Dili ko malimot last term sa iyang pagka-mayor sa siyudad ni Dongkoy Emano nga mikampeyon kita sa duha ka kategorya during the Lanao Norte NMRAA Meet. Nagka-LBM (lost bowel movement) atong mga atleta niadtong tungora apan ambot nganong nag-overall champion `ta in 2007," recalled Porferio "Jun" Padinit Jr., a veteran Palaro official assigned for COAA's reception and accomodation committee in the week-long meet.
Padinit's early observation, however, was proven wrong by the host province of Misamis Oriental as it closely followed the neighboring team in the fight for overall supremacy, thereby quashing any doubt it might be left behind in the race for the top honors.
Team CDO amassed a total of 272 points largely taken from its championship wins in swimming, taekwondo, gymnastics, basketball, volleyball, chess, boxing and lawn tennis to secure the elementary title.
Just breathing on their at second and third places are Misamis Oriental and Iligan with an aggregate of 223 and 201 points, respectively.
At fourth place is dethroned defending champion Bukidnon with 148 points.
"Mihinay gyod ang puwersa sa Bukidnon karon nga nabahin na sila sa tulo pag separate sa Malaybalay ug Valencia," observed Corpus Christi sports coordinator Eric Miguel.
It was a closely-fought battle for the secondary title as Cagayan de Oro edged Misamis Oriental by only 10 points, 298 to 288.
"Maayo na lang nga in the last competition of the day, nagmadaugon atong arnis team nga ni-abag og 15 points," exclaimed COAA's co-athletic manager Eulogio R. Suaner Jr., who along with Edgar "Mr. Screening Committee" Yanez, Patrick Revano, camp master Ben Espera and Virgie Paasa, among others, had painstakingly did well on their jobs to make life easy for the CDO athletes.
Victories in swimming, taekwondo, girls' badminton, table tennis, basketball, athletics, lawn tennis and chess also propelled Team CDO's thrilling surge to the top that was almost spoiled by Misor's own conquest in sipak takraw, archery, table tennis, softball girls, athletics, volleyball boys, lawn tennis, football, chess and arnis.
Misor was last year's reigning secondary champion in Tangub Palaro meet.
Another third-place finish by Iligan (196) ahead of fourth-running Bukidnon (181) in secondary level is enough an indication that next year's regional meet in Tubod, Lanao del Norte will be anybody's game.
"Motivation, encouragement and monitoring and follow up sa atong training preparation ang akong nakita nga maoy nakapa-aghat nga misaka ang performance sa atong team dili lang sa individual events apan lakip na sa ballgames," COAA athletic manager Delia D. Agbon told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.
Agbon added: "Dako sab kaayo nga factor atong inahan sa kanunay'ng panabang nga supportive kaayo moku-ot gyod bisan wala na," referring to City Schools Division Superintendent Myrna S. Motoomull.
Hardly shaken by Misor's failed attempt to retain the secondary championships, host Governor Oscar S. Moreno acted instead like a responsible father to one big family.
In yesterday afternoon's closing ceremony, the sports-loving Moreno pledged for financial support in the training preparation of the NMRAA team for the Palarong Pambansa the province of Tarlac will be hosting in April.