CEBU’s Joseph Miller accomplished his goal in the Asia-Pacific Tour Championships 2016 after walking away with a fifth place finish in the loaded men’s professional field.
Miller garnered a total of 251 points from three races—Xterra Philippines, Saipan and Malaysia.
It was the double-point leg of Xterra Malaysia last Saturday that gave Miller the needed push to get to top five. Miller finished at seventh place in Langkawi and got 116 points, adding up to his 82 and 53 points from Saipan and Philippines.
Ben Allen of Australia topped the men’s division of the Asia-Pacific Tour with 372 points and bagged the $2,000 prize bonus.
Bradley Weiss of South Africa earned 362 for second place; Japanese Takahiro Ogasawara scored 322 in the series to take third place, while Australian Brodie Gardner collected 320 points for fourth place.
Miller, who won a $300 bonus cash prize for placing fifth, was the first from Southeast Asia to make it in the Top 5 pro division in three years of the Xterra Asia-Pacific Tour.
The resident of Lapu-Lapu City Miller, who is the lone Xterra pro of the country, said that he feels accomplished on his performance in the 2016 Xterra Tour.
“I’ve been trying to make it in the Top 5 for three years. I finally made it, and all my sacrifices and training are all worth it,” he told Sun.Star Cebu.
Miller, 36, who’s backed by Ford Forza Philippines, trained in Manila for the duration of the 2016 Xterra Tour. Miller started his bid in Xterra Asia-Pacific Tour in a wrong foot after suffering multiple flat tires and only settled at ninth place. But he recovered mightily in Xterra Saipan last March as he snagged third place and to get back into contention.
“I was focused on my training this year and I got faster compared than last year,” said Miller, who turned pro in 2014.
Miller, a former bike mechanic, said that he was supported by Ford Forza Philippines on his training and was given the chance to train as a full-time athlete.
“It’s my first time to have full-time training and I’m happy it paid off,” said Miller who clocked 3 hours 24 minutes and 20 seconds in the tough course of Xterra Malaysia last Saturday.
The Sarangani Province native has improved his ranking after placing sixth in the 2015 Asia-Pacific Tour.
The Asia-Pacific Tour had six legs this year—Xterra Japan, Philippines, Saipan, New Zealand, Australia and Malaysia. Every racer counted the best three scores for their overall season points.