ANTIPOLO CITY - Jan Paul Morales of Navy-Standard Insurance promised a victory. He delivered one in style, becoming the first ever rider in the six-year history of LBC Ronda Pilipinas to win three successive stages.
Showing no sign of slowing down, Morales repelled serious challenges put up by his closest rivals from LBC-MVP Sports Foundation and claimed Stage Three victory as promised to close in on the title in the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2016's Luzon Leg at the Hinulugang Taktak park here.
The 30-year-old Morales clocked one hour, eight minutes and 25.81 seconds to complete the historic hat-trick, mirroring his victories in the opening stage in Paseo de Sta. Rosa in Laguna on Sunday and the Talisay-Tagaytay Stage Three individual time trial last Monday.
"I was confident going to Stage Three because I'm really in my best form this year," said Morales, who hails from Calumpang, Marikina.
LBC-MVPSF's George Oconer put up another strong challenge and gave it all in a bid to snatch Stage Three from Morales' grasp. But he faded in the final stretch and settled for second with a clocking of 1:08:32.95.
Another Navy bet, John Mark Camingao, edged LBC-MVPSF's Rustom Lim for third place.
The stage triumph gave Morales another 15 points, hiking his total to 45 general classification points or a massive 14-point lead over Oconer, who climbed from No. 3 to No. 2 with 31 points.
Lim slid to No. 3 from No. 2 with 29.
Morales believes only a series of unfortunate events could stop him from claiming his second leg championship in this three-stage bike race.
"All I need is to finish the race. I would be unlucky If I don't," said Morales.
Watch video highlights of Stage Three: