Ronda Pilipinas and our local bets
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
A WEEK from now, the 2012 LBC Ronda Pilipinas bikathon will officially take off. And unlike last year which was held over 12 days, this year’s road saga will run in 15 days and will start in Sarangani in Mindanao on May 20. A total of 96 riders from all over the archipelago will clash for the P1 million top prize plus another P1 million for the team competition.
Led by defending champion Umingan son Santi Barnachea, 21 other Pangasinenses are now ready to prove their mettle against the best in the country, but sad to say, according to my reliable source, our 22 local bets will be distributed to different teams, including Barnachea who will banner the Philippine Navy squad that will be mixed with non-Pangasinenses. My source also said that this year’s Le Tour de Filipinas champion and our best bet Baler Ravina of Asingan is rumored to skipper a commercial firm (unnamed yet as of this writing) and like Barnachea, his teammates are not Pangasinan riders and I don’t know why that is. The format of the organizers this year leaves our two official Pangasinan squads, East and West-Central Pangasinan, weaker. It could be presumptuous for me to say but I believe the exclusion of Barnachea and Ravina would be an immense drawback for the East Pangasinan team as far as team competition is concerned. Well, I’m not belittling the capability of veteran rider Emil Pablo from Umingan who will captain the East squad, but as far as power, dexterity and proficiency are concerned, Pablo can’t fit into the shoes of the two (Barnachea and Ravina) especially in the mountain climbing stages which are very vital in road racing.
Based on what we observed in any kind of road battle, particularly in multi-stage bicycle racing, we all know that no cyclist ever becomes a champion without the mountain climbing prowess, and that’s what Pablo lacks. I know this because it already happened to me numerous times during my cycling era. Yes, we still have the other squad, the West-Central Pangasinan that will be bannered by 2003 Tour Pilipinas king Arnel Quirimit of Pozorrubio, but unlike before, I have reservations about him now that he is 38 years old. Yes, his best weapon is his skill but I believe that will not be enough to win the big race. In team competition, he has formidable teammates like 2001 Pilipinas Bikathon champ Reynaldo Navarro of San Jacinto, former PHL national member Renato Sembrano and tenderfoot Joshua Carino, both from Mangaldan, Mark Julius Bonzo of Sual and Rene Esteban of San Fabian. And yes I would say we would be so lucky if our East and West-Central squads will land among the top three. Remember, our two teams will clash with younger, internationally-exposed and seasoned foes like defending champion LPGMA-American Vinyl and 7-Eleven, groups and experts say that they’re the teams to beat. The cyclists of these two camps, unlike our contingents, are receiving allowances from their sponsors and being watched closely during their intensive training periods, aside from being sent to race abroad, and that makes the big difference. Let’s wait and see.
The 2012 version of LBC Ronda Pilipinas, the biggest, longest and richest cycling spectacle in the country for the last two years, will have four stages in Mindanao, two in the Visayas, and nine in Luzon from the Bicol region to the metropolis and on to central and northern Luzon before they will hit the final stage Manila on June 10. Unlike last year wherein no stage happened in Pangasinan, this time Lingayen is ready to host the eleventh leg and the riders will be coming from Cabanatuan City before hitting the two crucial Baguio City laps on June 7 and 8. Let’s pray for our province mates’ victories. They’re the pride of Pangasinan and the unofficial flag carriers of our province.
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My big congrats to my town mates who won three big honors from the province not only in sports but also in a beauty pageant and the cleanest river competition. Mangaldan notched anew the cleanest river in Pangasinan for the third time (2009, 2010 and 2012), while Miss Rosalyn Evangelista Suratos from my neighboring Barangay Banaoang captured the Miss Limgas na Dayat 2012 title and at the same time (May 1), the tandem of Martinez-Manzano wrested this year’s Pista’y Dayat beach volleyball championship. I’m not singing my own praises but bear in mind that my youngest daughter Raisa, SK chairperson of my village Buenlag, won the No. 1 Most Outstanding SK Chairperson of Pangasinan besting 1,432 other SK chairs. But that was last November. I’m happy and proud to say I was born and raised in Mangaldan. Mabuhay ka rin Mayor Herminio Romero. Keep up the good work.
Lastly, my belated kudos to FIDE master Haridas Pascua for seizing this year the National Junior Chess Championship held at the Event Center in Tanauan, Batangas. The Mangatarem-born Pascua also just recently bagged the championship of the 2012 Dagupan Bangus Festival Mayor Benjamin S. Lim Cup. Pascua will represent the Philippines in the 2012 World Junior Chess Championship slated in Athens, Greece.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: And Jesus Christ said “Most I assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, he works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. If you love Me, keep My commandments”. JOHN 14: 12-15