TAGUM City, Davao - With his rival trailing not too far behind, Veruel Verdadero poured every ounce of energy he had left to make sure he would cap an already impressive campaign in the 2016 Batang Pinoy with a fourth gold medal.
Lady Luck smiled on him on Wednesday, as he prevailed in the boys' 13-15 200-meter race with a time of 23.29 seconds, less than a second ahead of runner-up Vince Jayson Buhayan of Iloilo (23.74). Iligan City's Earl John Limpag wound up third after clocking 24.15 seconds.
It was the Dasmarinas, Cavite ace's fourth gold medal, making him the most bemedalled runner in the annual meet organized by the Philippine Sports Commission.
"I just train hard every day," said the 15-year-old trackster, who also lorded it over the 100-meter and 400-meter events, respectively, before helping his teammates snag the gold in the 4x100-meter relay.
It could have been five medals, but a hamstring injury kept him from running in the 4x400m relay.
Verdadero is glad nonetheless with his sterling performance, which has a corresponding reward. It was said that the Grade 9 student of Immaculate Concepcion Academy is expected to receive a cash incentive of P10,000 for each gold.
Over at the New Tagum City Hall, Baguio City collected six gold medals in taekwondo courtesy of Realis Tabiando (light middleweight), John Kim Passion (light middleweight), Aila Mathel Calip (welterweight), Kristian Mamitag (welterweight), Angel Dy (light heavyweight), and Ashley Janel Salao (heavyweight).
In weightlifting, Zamboanga City's Ma. Dessa Delos Santos lifted an 85-kg barbell to top the 58-kg category, beating Renee Lao of Mandaue, Cebu City Cheryl Cinco, at the Laureta National High School.
Also in the same event, Quezon City ace Eriel Cardiano defeated Cebu's Abegail Patalingug and Bianca Ferrel of Davao City in the +58-kg category.
Meanwhile, Zamboanga City amassed five gold medals in the pencak silat's combat event after Ralph Ungaya (boys’ 37-40kg), Jerome Negapatan (40-43kg), Hannah Leano (girls’ 43-46kg), Carlo Danag (boys’ 39-43kg) and Nefertitri Ontolan (boys’ 47-51kg) lorded over their respective events.