CONTRARY to the fifth finish that a Department of Education (DepEd)-Davao official earlier predicted, the Davao Region Athletic Association (Davraa), from ninth last year, slumped to its worse 11th ranking as powerhouse National Capital Region (NCRAA) defended its overall crown in the Palarong Pambansa 2019 that concluded at the Davao City-UP Sports Complex here Saturday, May 4.
The host region struggled to come up with its 13 golds, 22 silvers and 37 bronzes in the six-day competition. Last year, Davraa hauled 12 golds, 27 silvers and 28 bronzes.
NCRAA harvested 86, golds, 71 silvers and 56 bronzes for the top spot followed by 66-49-73 Calabarzon in second, 49-40-58 Western Visayas third, 26-43-40 Soccsksargen fourth and 24-22-33 Central Visayas fifth.
DepEd-Davao spokesperson Jenielito Atillo, who made the fifth overall projection for Davraa, said: “We fought a good fight and we will bounce back next year.”
He also belied reports saying that Davraa athletes’ training were sidelined due to the hosting preparations.
He added, “Separate ang training ug hosting. The officials who were running the training are not the ones running the hosting. There’s nothing wrong with the training, only that luck favored our competition.”
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William “Butch” Ramirez, commenting on the final medal tally, said regions must focus on swimming and track and field and some sports that have more medals. “That’s the strategy of Western Visayas, Calabarzon and Central Luzon,” he said.
Panabo City’s Anghella Coco, Dyna Mae Lampara and Queencel Regeno along with Davao City’s Rhea Ville Bausin, coached by Aries Bastian, gave Davraa its 13th gold after beating taller and bigger Central Visayas (Cviraa) squad, 15-13, in a come-from-behind fashion at the Holy Cross of Davao College (HCDC) Gym.
Cviraa was up at the start of their finals showdown but the Eagles’ hopes could not be foiled as they regained composure and got back into the game enroute to the sealing the gold.
Bausin, 18, who competed in her first and last Palaro, told Sunstar Davao, “Basta nagdula lang mi, tiwala lang sa sarili ug sa Ginoo. Wala namo gihuna-huna unsa sila kadagko basta laban lang (We just played our game and was confident in ourselves and in God. We didn’t focus on how big our opponents were. We just fought on).”
Coco, in a TV 5 interview, said, “Kaya namin kahit gaano kalaki ang kalaban namin. Pray lang at manalig sa kanya.”
Davraa only settled for girls 3x3 bronze in 2018 Palaro.
The rest of Davraa’s golds were courtesy of swimmers Juliana Marien Villanueva, Liaa Margarette Amoguis and the relay team of Pietro Requiza, Paolo Miguel Labanon and Jabahri Dilangalen and Rain Andrei Tumulac; boxers Carl John Austria and John Michael Diocares; wushu artists Jehaziel Barbero, Geoff Bustamante and Jake Marquez; arnisadors Glenn Jhon Malisa and Julia Patricia Lastimoso; wrestler Jericho Amado and the secondary boys sepak takraw team.
The final day also yielded two silvers from the secondary boys and girls volleyball teams and secondary boys 3x3, among others.