ILOILO CITY - There's simply no stopping the Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance's dominance in the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2016.
At least after the first two stages of the Visayan leg.
Executing their plan to perfection, the Navymen came through with another impressive effort as Rudy Roque, Ronald Oranza and Jan Paul Morales completed a podium sweep in Stage Two of the Visayas leg at the Iloilo Business Park on Sunday.
The 23-year-old Roque won by a split second as he clocked one hour, seven minutes and 26.69 seconds, besting Stage One winner Oranza and Morales, the Mindanao Leg champion.
The three actually held on to each other's bike as they entered the finish line, underscoring Navy's utter domination of the stage.
"The plan is to win every significant award possible," said Roque, a 23-year-old native of Bataan, in Filipino.
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Morales and Oranza wasted no time taking charge, breaking free from the chase pack and peloton before Roque clawed his way to the lead group midway through the race.
It was smooth-sailing from there as the three alternated setting the pace to widen the gap.
There appeared to be some tension in the final stretch when Oranza quickened his pace, only to slow down to allow Roque and Morales to catch up with him at the finish.
The stage win gave Roque 15 general individual classification points and hiked his overall points to 28, the same output as Oranza.
But the 23-year-old Oranza, who reigned supreme in the Stage One criterium in Bago City, Negros Occidental on Friday, kept the LBC red jersey and the overall lead with a faster time of 2:16:50.69 as against Roque's 2:16:50.77.
"I'm happy that a Navy teammate won," said Oranza, who boasts of six stage victories including the first two stages of the Mindanao Leg in Butuan City a month back.
Navy's El Joshua Carino wound up No. 4 in the stage in 1:09:50.38, outsprinting Team LBC-MVP Sports Foundation's Ronald Lomotos, who came in at No. 5 with a time of 1:09:50.40.
LBC-MVPSF's Mark Julius Bonzo, Navy's John Mark Camingao and Lloyd Lucien Reynante and LBC-MVPSF's Jerry Aquino, Jr. and Rustom Lim finished sixth to 10th in 1:09:56.38, 1:09:57.12, 1:10:08.52, 1:10:08.57 and 1:10:09.20, respectively.
Overall, Morales, who topped the two intermediate sprints of the stage, and Lomotos were at distant third and fourth with 16 points apiece while Lim is at No. 5 with 13 points.
Rounding up the top 10 were Bonzo (10), El Joshua Carino (10), younger brother Daniel Ven Carino of Navy (8) and two more Navymen in Joel Calderon (7) and Reynante (7).
Oranza continued to lead the way in the sprints category with 15 points ahead of Morales and Roque with 10 and nine points.
Team Ilolilo's Alejado Novendane finished 12th in Stage Two and was at No. 14 overall to remain the best Visayan cyclist.
Stage Three, a road race through the major arteries of Iloilo City, is set on Tuesday with the last two stages – an individual time trial and criterium – to be held on Thursday.
The event, organized by LBC Express, is sanctioned by PhilCycling and sponsored by the Manny V. Pangilinan Sports Foundation, Petron and Versa Radio-Tech 1 Corp. with Maynilad and NLEX as minor sponsors.