NORTHERN Mindanao's elementary girls netters gave Region 10 Thursday of its first team victory in the ongoing 2010 Palarong Pambansa in Tarlac.
Northern Mindanao's romp off in lawn tennis competition was successfully made at the expense of defending champion Davao region.
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"It's mission accomplished. After the kick-off leg of the Smart-Head junior netfest in Cagayan de Oro, we did feel that our local netters are much stronger this year in the age-group level," said Jonelle Llavore, president of the Nazareth Lawn Tennis Club.
"I'm not surprised at all. I did predict earlier that they're going to be the top team to beat in Palaro after watching the Smart-Head event some few weeks ago in Cagayan de Oro," said Sarah Belle, mother of the country's top junior player Francis Casey Alcantara.
Roxanne Resma and Janelle Carmela Llavore of Cagayan de Oro and Khim Iglupas of Iligan and Lynlyn Saladaga of Tangub had quite made up for the perfect foursome of NMRAA team in overwhelming the Davaoe¤as, 2-0 in the finals.
The team play finals was not even close as the NM bets mentored by youthful Lenario Autentico eventually made mincemeat of Davraa rivals in two-straight sets, 8-2, 8-3.
Region 10 contingent, which pocketed the table tennis championship (in all categories) during the 2008 Palaro in Puerto Princesa, Palawan settled for third place this time around in elementary boys category.
It won over Caraga, 3-1 and Caraa, 3-0 but lost to eventual winner Western Visayas, 3-1.
Without any doubt, NMRAA coaches are seeing an improved performance in Tarlac compared to the 2009 edition of the Palaro Games in Tacloban.
"Unlike last year nga first day pa lang daghan na pilde, mga 90 percent ang nangdaug sa atong mga atleta in the first two days of action here in Tarlac," chess coach Angelito Felicilda texted Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.
The usually rough fields in ballgames had momentarily turned somewhat "rosy" for the region's quest for a highly-ambitious top-5 finish in the overall standing.
"Tinuod nag improve atong performance and that is absolutely good news. Ang bad news lang kay grabe ka-init dinhe karon mora'g impiyerno," complained COAA team manager Delia S. Agbon.
In basketball, NM-Sacred Heart opened with a 68-47 thrashing of Bicol region in elementary. While its secondary counterparts mostly coming from Ateneo de Cagayan-Xavier University crushed the Autonomous region, 92-47.
Region 10 started hot against Davao-XI in elementary baseball, taking the first inning 2-0 before a sudden collapse that apparently resulted to a 2-3 loss.
It quickly bounced back, however, in narrowly defeating Western Visayas, 6-5.
NM footballers had a twinkill during the preliminary action beating Zamboanga Peninsula, 2-1 in the elementary and Mimaropa, 3-2 in the secondary.
In softball, NMRAA's elementary batters proved merciless in shutting down Cagayan Valley, 5-0 even as the secondary team lost in succession to Central Luzon (7-3) and Western Visayas (10-0) after debuting with a 4-3 win over Cagayan Valley.
The region's takraw players in secondary level racked up two-straight wins against Central Luzon, 2-0 and Ilocos region.
In stark contrast to NM spikers' forgettable campaign in secondary boys level, the high school volleybelles came up seething with revenge taking the starch out from Bicol region, 2-1; Ilocos region, 2-0 and Davao region, 2-0 in their first three games.
"Napuslan gyod ilang udtong-tutok nga pagsige'g ensayo back home sa atong Pelaez Sports Center," one team insider said.
A fourth-round victory both put the region's elementary chessers (Tristan Ibaoc and Alji Cantonjos for boys and the tandem of Fritzi Ghean Gabayaran and Nicole Anne Rivera for girls) back into title contention.
The elementary boys woodpushers now climb up to third behind the pacesetting NCR and second-running Calabarzon, while the elementary girls had slightly improved at seventh place after three rounds.
"Seeing the worst thing to happen, I'll just concentrate right now in the race for the top board honors kay malabo na sa team," confides Lennon Hart Salgados, 2007 National Shell kiddies champion and Asean age-group silver medalist, who conquered Avhix Alfonso of the perennial titlist NCR to pile up a solid 3.5 output in 4 rounds.
Salgados' board 2 mate, Julius Dan Agustin Ablin is mired, however, at the bottom--along with the visibly off-formed secondary girls chessers -- with only half a point to show going to the last three rounds.