Practice makes perfect for Cebu teen

A 13-YEAR-OLD Cebuano prodigy is now making a name and bringing pride not only for Cebu, but for the entire country in the field of Rubiks Cube solving.

Leo Borromeo, at the the age of 10, became the first Filipino to solve a Rubik’s cube in under six seconds in a competition in 2017 and is now continuing to impress the world of speedcubing after defeating two older opponents and world renowned speedcubers: Tymon Kolasiński of Poland (the number one speedcuber in Europe) and Feliks Zemdegs, the current world’s greatest speedcuber, in recent unofficial online speedcubing competitions.

Speedcubing is an event or competition for persons who can competitively solve Rubik’s Cube, a 3D combination puzzle first invented in 1974.

Borromeo said he developed his own interest in solving Rubik’s Cube after he watched a video of Zemdegs doing it in December 2014. He was only seven years old at that time.

He said cubing was fun and he liked the competitive aspect of it.

As no one in his family was and is into this mental game, he said he just self-learned and applied the techniques and steps he learned online.

In 2015, he started joining competitions organized by delegates of the World Cube Association (WCA), which governs competitions for mechanical puzzles that are operated by twisting groups of pieces, commonly known as “twisty puzzles.”

Two years later, he had the record of solving a Rubik’s cube in just 5.96 seconds -- the fastest in a competition.

His unforgettable competition, he said, was the 2018 Asian Championship held in Taipei, Taiwan wher he was runner-up and beat Zemdegs in a 3x3x3 event.

In 2019, he competed in World Championships in Melbourne, Australia. Based on his current records in WCA, his fastest solve was 5.12 seconds and his fastest average is 6.31 seconds.

He said he aims to improve his standings by joining official WCA competition after this pandemic ends.

Due to the current pandemic, the live and “in person” events of the WCA have been put on hold. However, some cubing vloggers such as the “LazerOMonkey” organized events like the Monkey League, which are done online.

During the second season of Monkey League, Borromeo beat both Feliks and Kolasiński to become the champion.

Borromeo said he tries to make 100 solves per day.

“I tried to do my assignments first. Whenever, I have a time to break, I practice. Because of school, about two hours,” he said.

He said he doesn’t think intelligence plays a factor in speedcubing and that it is just a matter of constant practice.

Borromeo said one can’t be a world renowned speed cuber immediately as it is a process and that one needs to practice.

Three years from now, he said he hopes to still be cubing and to have a couple more records.

He now owns about 100 cubes sponsored by a cubing store and a manufacturer based abroad.

His father Carlo said he is “very very proud” of his son just like any other parent who sees his child succeed in his own field.

“My hope is that he applies (in life) what he learn in Rubik’s Cube. I want him to be analytical, problem solver, to think fast. Maybe he can be a programmer or scientist,” he said.

Carlo said he always reminds his son to have fun.

“He can be serious and competitive but I want him to be reminded that he is still a kid,” he added. (WBS)


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