Sports Eye

By January 11, 2021Opinion, Sports Eye

Pangasinan tops PH cycling

By Jesus A. Garcia, Jr


SOME friends of mine, young cycling fans, including bashers, too, mostly outside the province keep asking  me to name all the Pangasinan professional cyclists who won national multi-stage cycling since the birth of Philippine cycling races, like the fabled Tour of Luzon, Marlboro Tour, Tour of PICCA, Tour ng Pilipinas, to name some. I’ll do better. I’ll also name the champions’ towns and the years of their triumphs.

I did not have to think twice to grant their requests but I told them they have to read it here in The PUNCH and through its online version. So, with pride and honor, here are the magnificent 21:

Rufino Gabot of Manaoag in 1957, Mamerto Eden of Mapandan in 1958 (†), Edmundo de Guzman of Lingayen in 1962, Gonzalo Recodos of Manaoag in 1963, Jesus Garcia Jr. of Mangaldan in 1973 and twice in 1977 (three national Tours were held in 1977), Teodorico Rimarim of Basista in 1974 (†), Samson Cariño of Mangaldan and Samson Etrata of Binalonan in 1975 (two national Tours were held 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, 2011, 2015, Arnel Quirimit of Pozorrubio in 2003, Baler Ravina of Asingan in 2012, Joshua Cariño of Mangaldan in 2018 and Ronald Oranza of Villasis in 2018 (two national Tours were held in 2018).

Yes, we had 21 winners who brought home 26 diadems.

Note: Metro Manila is a far second with nine title winners who earned 14 crowns: Cornelio Padilla Jr. (†); Manuel Reynante (†), Warren Davadilla, Victor Espiritu, Reynaldo Dequito (†), Manuel Buenaventura, Mark John Galedo, John Paul Morales and Norberto Oconer.

Pangasinan also had its share of tour runners-up but, unfortunately, never plucked a championship plum: Ignacio Jacinto of Manaoag in 1957, Teofilo Cuison of Dagupan City in 1958, Virgilio Delin of Manaoag in 1964 (†), Narciso Tullo Jr. of Binalonan in 1969, Cesar Catambay of Mangaldan in 1973, 1974 and 1983, Benjamin Gorospe of Urdaneta City in 1977, Tranquilino de Vera of Tayug in 1979 (†) and Fermin Zabala of Bautista in 1982 (†).

Pangasinan cyclists who became champions who also won first runner-up plums were: Rufino Gabot in 1956, Mamerto Eden in 1959, Edmundo de Guzman in 1960, Jesus Garcia Jr. in 1965, 1967, 1975, 1976; Jacinto Sicam in 1980, Ruben Cariño in 1981 and Arnel Quirimit in 2002.

These are the facts to my knowledge that I now pass on to you guys on your questions about who’s who, who did what in Philippine cycling.  I may perhaps missed out on some but I’m confident, that’s about it.

By the way, because of the COVID-19 pandemic that affected us early last year, only the Ronda Pilipinas bikefest was conducted last February won by Manileño Norberto Oconer. The supposed four-day 2020 Le Tour de Filipinas was temporarily discontinued obviously also because of COVID-19. But Congressman Bambol Tolentino who heads also the national cycling body PhilCycling and concurrent president of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) revealed last week that with or without the vaccines, the national cycling road races in the country will push through this year. Of course, health and safety protocols will be implemented. Yes, hopefully our Pangasinan riders will bring back the glories that we last won in 2018.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance. PSLAMS 32: 12

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