Sports Eye

Gov. Pogi is Pangasinan cycling’s new patron

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.


I RARELY got a chance to chat with the sports-minded Governor Amado “Pogi” Espino, lll, and when we did, it was all about sports. My most recent opportunity was last January 26 at his office at the Urduja House in Lingayen. With my first and only cycling child Jazy, accompanying me, we naturally talked about Pangasinan cycling, then and now, but the main purpose of our visit is the Pista’y Dayat celebration on May 1.

Like his father, former Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr., the energetic and dynamic provincial chief executive did not think twice about hosting a bikefest in conjunction with the celebration of the nation’s well-known annual festival. Of course like in the past, the190-kilometer race will start and end at the Capitol beachfront, traversing the coastal towns of western Pangasinan with Infanta as the turning point. He gave me the ‘green light’ as the race director with Aksyon Radyo Pangasinan to do the pedal-by-pedal account with cash prizes totaling P189,000 up for grabs.

My source confirmed that among the sports activities lined up for Pista’y Dayat celebration will include cycling, chess, volleyball, boxing and basketball, table tennis and badminton. I wish they would include marathon, “the poor man’s sport” as the scribes say.

The Guv’s enthusiasm led us to a discussion about a bigger race this year that will be dubbed as “Tour of Pangasinan.” I told him that middle of May or before the rainy season sets is the best month to hold the four-day cycling, and my friends’ group called “The Big Difference Communications” based in Manila can handle the marketing with his blessing and assistance. He said he will seriously think about it.

The possibility of holding a cycling race during the Pangasinan Day celebration on April 5 as one of the sports activities was also briefly discussed. For that race, I recommended that it starts and finishes in Bautista, him being the former undefeated hizzoner of his hometown. Unlike the Pista’y Dayat course, the April 5 event will pass all the eastern towns purposely to give easterners the chance to cheer and root for their heroes.  I sincerely hope he will seriously consider it.

The young and good looking governor is really into sports. In fact, his latest project, the Inter-Town, Cities Basketball Tournament that started last December 17 is now in the semi-quarterfinals stage. From the latest update I got, all the games of the 16 towns that entered the semi-quarterfinals is currently topped by undefeated Binmaley, Lingayen and Sto. Tomas teams. They will clash with each other at Narciso Ramos Sports and Civic Center in Lingayen starting morning of February 4. Yes, being a basketball lover, I know I have to watch the hostilities especially that my town Mangaldan carding six wins with two losses crossed the threshold 16. Former champion and one of title contenders Alaminos City toting nine wins with single defeat (against Lingayen) also pierced the top 16. See you there.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: And Jesus Christ said, “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. MATTHEW 12:31-32

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