Kent Lloyd Gavino shows big heart in keeping pace with runners twice his size in Batang Pinoy
Kent Lloyd Gavino held his own against taller runners and earned praise for his gutsy performance in the 1500-meter event at the 2016 Batang Pinoy. Jan Ballesteros

TAGUM City, Davao - Kent Lloyd Gavino was among the runners who lagged behind in the 1500-meter event of the 2016 Batang Pinoy, but he crossed the finish line at the track oval of the Sports and Tourism Complex here a winner.  

The pint-sized Gavino, 11, drew cheers from fellow athletes and spectators alike inside the stadium, after a gritty showing and even breezing through a few runners who were twice his size in the race. 

"Hindi ako natakot (sa malalaking kalaban)," Gavino told shortly after the race, adding that he believed he could win if only he was in top condition.   

His coach Rommel Melgar bared that his ward was not in great shape before the race as he was recovering from a fever. But he remained proud of Gavino, a Milo Marathon champion in Cebu, for exceeding expectations.

"For experience lang kaya dinala namin siya dito," said coach Melgar, who also bared that Gavino’s father was a popular marathoner back in Cebu. 

"Yung papa nya runner rin. In-encourage sya tumakbo," he added. "May lagnat siya kanina (umaga). Kung wala baka nag-top pa yan. Baka sa susunod may chance na."

Follow the writer on Twitter: @janbballesteros