Sports Eye

 Pangasinan cyclists are the best, then and now
(First of two series)

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.

TWO days from now, year 2018 will be gone. This is definitely one of the years I will never forget for Pangasinan sports. Our Pangasinan cyclists again proved this year that the two-wheeled event is one of the sports that we should really be proud of.

Here’s why. Our Pangasinan riders dominated the cycling events in 2018 with Villasis-son Ronald Oranza launching the first salvo by winning the ten-day 2018 Ronda Pilipinas in January. Then my town mate Joshua Cariño duplicated the feat by topping the internationally-flavored four-day Le Tour de Filipinas last May in the professional class. In the amateur division, our Pangasinan young cyclists won eight of the 24 gold medals.

No other province in the entire archipelago has ever achieved this feat since the birth of national cycling in 1955 except our province.

Many people may not know it but we have already seen this happen in 1975.  My town mate and teammate Samson Cariño won the second commercial (ala PBA) nine-day bikathon, the now defunct “Tour of PICCA” (Philippine Industrial Commercial Cycling Association), with me finishing second. And Samson Etrata of Binalonan seized the 15-day Tour of Luzon crown from 1974 winner province-mate Teodorico Rimarim of Basista. That was duplicated in 1977 by this writer by winning two titles in the same year: first the 1977 Tour of PICCA in February (together with my town mate and teammate Ruben Cariño finishing  second. We beat two-time Asian cycling road race champion Indonesian elite rider Sutiyono (I forgot his first name) to wrest the title from 1976 Tour winner Domingo Quilban from Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya. In the month of June, 1977, I triumphed again, this time the 17-day first Marlboro Tour that was run in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao (with Urdaneta native Benjamin Gorospe landing second).

This province also earned prestigious accolades in this sport, courtesy of 21 individual national Tour champions who brought home 27 crowns: Rufino Gabot of Manaoag started in 1957; Mamerto Eden of Mapandan in 1958; Edmundo de Guzman of Lingayen in 1962; Gonzalo Recodos of Manaoag in 1963; this writer in 1973 and twice in 1977; Teodorico Rimarim of Basista in 1974; Samson Cariño of Mangaldan and Samson Etrata of Binalonan in 1975; Modesto Bonzo of Sual in 1976; Jacinto Sicam of San Manuel in 1981 and 1982; Romeo Bonzo of Sual in 1983; Ruben Cariño of Mangaldan in 1984; Pepito Calip of Binalonan in 1985; Bernardo Llentada of San Nicolas in 1991; Reynaldo Navarro of San Jacinto in 2000; Wilfredo Calosa of San Jacinto in 2001; Santy Barnachea of Umingan in 2002, 2006, 2010, 2015; Arnel Quirimit of Pozorrubio in 2003; Baler Ravina of Asingan in 2012; and Ronald Oranza and Joshua Cariño in 2018.

Pangasinan cyclists who bagged the first runner-plums were: Gabot, Eden, de Guzman, Virgilio Delin, this writer (4times), Cesar Catambay (3times), Gorospe, Sicam, Fermin Zabala, Tranquilino de Vera, Ruben Cariño (3times), Gonzalo Espiritu, and Quirimit (2times). Aside from these accomplishments, Pangasinan team never lost team competitions when the Tour was still a regional race. (To be continued next week).

 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone. Welcome year 2019.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK:For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, Not of works, lest anyone should boast.EPHESIANS 2: 8-9

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