Davao City athletes start 13th Asean Schools Games campaign in Vietnam

ASG DEBUT. Davao City athletes Paolo Miguel Labanon (swimming), Desiree Alaba (jumping), and Mary Jane Pagayon (running) mark the start of their debut campaign in the 13th Asean Schools Games (ASG)  in Da Nang, Vietnam this week. The photos are taken during the opening ceremonies.
ASG DEBUT. Davao City athletes Paolo Miguel Labanon (swimming), Desiree Alaba (jumping), and Mary Jane Pagayon (running) mark the start of their debut campaign in the 13th Asean Schools Games (ASG) in Da Nang, Vietnam this week. The photos are taken during the opening ceremonies. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

Davao City swimmer Paolo Miguel Labanon and track and field athletes Desiree Alaba and Mary Jane Pagayon are making their debut in the 13th Asean Schools Games (ASG) in Da Nang, Vietnam this week.

Labanon, a 17-year-old Mapua Malayan Colleges Mindanao (MMCM) student, qualified for the boys' 200m freestyle finals scheduled as of press time on Tuesday, June 4. He began his campaign with an 11th-place finish in the 400m freestyle on Monday, June 3.

"I am just wishing and praying for the best," he told SunStar Davao in a Messenger interview.

Labanon, the most valuable player (MVP) in boys swimming at the National Batang Pinoy 2023, secured three gold medals in the (boys' 200m and 400m freestyle and 200m butterfly) and one bronze (100m freestyle) at the national invitational tryouts for the ASG.

He said the competition pool in Da Nang is similar to the one at New Clark City in Tarlac, but noted, "But Clark's is better kasi medyo malamig ang water. It's a covered pool here though, pero siguro ng dahil init ng weather dito (Clark's is better because the water is a bit colder. It's a covered pool here though, but maybe the hot weather affects the water temperature)."

Labanon won all seven gold medals in his category during the regional meet in April.

Meanwhile, Alaba of Emar Human and Environmental College (Ehec) competed in the girls' long jump as of press time. It was her first event in the ASG and her first international competition.

"Excited ko kay first time nako nga Pilipinas akong gina-represent (I'm excited to be representing the country for the first time)," said the 17-year-old decorated jumper.

Alaba, who won two gold medals in the National Batang Pinoy 2023, will also compete in the triple jump.

Pagayon, a quadruple gold medalist at Davraa 2024, will yet see action in the girls' 800m run on Wednesday, June 5.

"Lami kaayo sa feeling magdula sa abroad nga Pilipinas akong dala (It's a great feeling to compete overseas and representing the Philippines)," Pagayon, also an Ehec student, said.

Davao del Norte also has athletes competing in the ASG, including Lorenz Datiles, who went viral during the Davraa Meet 2024 where he secured five gold medals with his `Frankenspikes.'

As of 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4, the Philippines was ranked fourth with four gold medals, three silvers, and two bronzes.

Host Vietnam was on top with 19 golds, 10 silvers, and five bronzes, followed by 6-8-13 Thailand in second, and 6-7-6 Malaysia in third. MLSA

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