Pangasinan cyclists plummet
By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
THE first three months of this year was not so bright for our Pangasinan cyclists. This year, our professional riders were again outshone at the 14-day Ronda Pilipinas bikathon with only two of our local bets landing in the top ten overall led by three-time Tour winner Santy Barnachea of Umingan at seventh and Ronald Oranza of Villasis at tenth. Same thing is surprisingly happening in the amateur category.
The six road races that I organized and directed (sponsored by Excellent Noodles and Meridien Vista Gaming Corporation) starting in Calasiao last December 18 up to the Alaminos City bikefest on March 14, were dominated by the visiting competitors spearheaded by Davao City-born, Marikina City-based Romeo Camingao.
It was only Oscar Espiritu of San Manuel who managed to win the Binmaley bikefest last February 2 that at least saved the image of Pangasinan, considered as the bed rock of cycling champions in the country that already produced 15 national Tour champions led by my town Mangaldan with three.
The last time that a Pangasinense won a multi-stage race was two years ago with the pint-sized Baler Ravina of Umingan conquering the UCI-sanctioned international race 2012 Le Tour de Filipinas. There’s really something wrong, ‘ika nga, in our province’s cycling development. Our neighbours are perking up in this two-wheeled sport while we stagnate.
But I feel elated to know that three of our local young pedal-pushers namely, Ronald Oranza of Villasis, Joshua Carino of Mangaldan and Mark Julius Bonzo of Sual, have been selected to fly to Europe (Spain and Netherlands), Malaysia and Indonesia to train and compete in some big races there in the under-23 category as part of their build-up for this year’s Asian Games in South Korea.
The Pitaki Boyz member Carino, 22, told me that their trip is their incentive prize for placing second in the team competition during the 2014 Ronda Pilipinas. The travel costs will be shouldered by LBC and the Manny V. Pangilinan Sports Foundation. Carino also said the three will skip the four-day Le Tour de Filipinas scheduled this coming April 21-24. Mabuhay po kayo and von voyage.
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At the third year anniversary of the bi-monthly Pacebook Magazine, former President Fidel V. Ramos showed that he was still in top physical shape. He led the audience in simulating his iconic high jump during the EDSA Revolution. Steady Eddie, 85, our president from 1992 to 1998, hopped from table to table for photo-ops. He is a great health buff and still a fitness guru. FVR still regularly plays golf and runs. According to my Punch colleague Jun V, former House Speaker Joe de Venecia used to be his pingpong (table tennis) playmate. “Wala akong laban sa mga drives ni JDV, hard to block,” said playmate JunV. FVR and JDV were principal guests at the Lingayen event. Although out of government jobs, the two home-grown Pangasinenses still lead a super busy daily routine, FVR as chair of RPDEV, and JDV as Asian Political Parties chairman. They attribute their physical stamina to regular exercise and a strict health regimen. FVR, fondly called “Tabako” by his friends, is the honorary chairman of the Professional Cycling Federation of the Philippines (PCAP) that ran the Marlboro Tour for 21 years consecutively. During my brief chitchat with him many years ago, he said he is also fond of swimming, water skiing and of course also biking. No wonder he was at the Amoranto stadium in 1973, after I won the Tour of Luzon crown. Thank you, sir. Mabuhay po kayo.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Again, the devil took Him up on exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him. MATTHEW 4: 8-11
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