RONALD Oranza maintained his overall lead with a second place finish in Stage Nine of the Ronda Pilipinas.
Navy-Standard Insurance teammate Jan Paul Morales won the 217.2-kilometer race from from the Silang Municipal Hall in Cavite and to the Tagaytay Convention Center and Oranza submitted the same time of five hours and 47.13 minutes.
The 25-year-old Oranza has an aggregate time of 26:49:04, almost seven minutes ahead of Morales at 26:55:56.
Morales, 32, champion in the last two editions, has in fact already conceded to his younger teammate.
“I’m happy to finish second behind a teammate, I think his time has come,” said Morales.
Oranza said he will only celebrate when the race is finished.
“If it’s me, I will consider it a blessing. But we still have three stages to go and a race to finish so I have nothing to really celebrate about,” said Oranza, who hails from Villasis, Pangasinan.
It was an impressive effort for both Morales and Oranza as they dominated what race officials consider as a “killer stage” after negotiating Kaybiang Tunnel that connects Ternate, Cavite and Nasugbu, Batangas, and Leynes in Talisay.
George Oconer of Go for Gold finished third in the stage in 5:48:23 to jump from sixth in the overall individual race the day before to No. 3 with 27:09:11.
Jay Lampawog, 20, of Go for Gold Developmental team, skidded from No. 3 to No. 8 overall with 27:17:03.
Navy’s John Mark Camingao moved to No. 4 from No. 5 at 27:10:09, switching places with Cris Joven of Army-Bicycology, who now has a 5:52:20 aggregate time.
Navy’s Junrey Navarra was sixth at 27:14:53 followed by El Joshua Carino (27:16:11), Go for Gold’s Boots Ryan Cayubit (27:19:03) and Navy’s Rudy Roque (27:20:53).
The Navymen lead the team classification with a time of 105:36:38, more than an hour ahead of Army-Bicycology, which moved from No. 3 to No. 2 with 106:47:43.
Go for Gold Developmental team fell to No. 3 at 106:59:19 in the race presented by LBC and supported by MVP Sports Foundation, Filinvest, Philippine Rabbit, CCN, Petron, Versa.ph, 3Q Sports Event Management, Inc., Boy Kanin, Franzia, Standard Insurance, Bike Xtreme, SH+, Guerciotti, Prolite, Green Planet, Maynilad, NLEX Sports, Lightwater, LBC Foundation and PhilCycling.
Stage 10 is a 147.8-km race from Tagaytay to Calaca followed by a 92.72km Calaca-Calaca Stage 11, a shorter version of Stage 10 as it passes through the same climbing path in Ticub and Payapa.
The race concludes on Sunday with a Stage 12 criterium in Filinvest, Alabang.