LAKE Buhi held off a determined but ill-prepared Army squad to rule the exciting men’s Open 300-meter standard division in a fitting finale to the fourth and final leg of the Cobra Energy Drink Dragon Boat Regatta last weekend at the Manila Bay overlooking the Baywalk in Manila.
The Lake Buhi paddlers surged to an early lead in the four-team finals that rallying Army found hard to overcome, checking in with a time of one minute and 15.66 seconds in the race organized by the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation that drew a record field of 53 teams.
The Army bets, who were fresh from relief operations for Typhoon Yolanda victims and had only three days training for the event, took runner-up honors with a time of 1:16.06 while Philippine Coast Guard took third (1:19.48) in the event backed by Cobra Energy Drink and the Manila Tourism Board.
“Ang sabi ko sa mga bata ko huwag silang bibigay hanggang sa muling hininga,” said Lake Buhi skipper Pepito Nobleza of their gripping duel with Army. “Mga isang buwan din kaming nag-ensayo dahil gusto namin makabawi sa Army.”
“Kulang talaga sa ensayo dahil sa relief operations sa Typhoon Yolanda,” said Army skipper, Staff Sgt. Usman Anterona,” pero saludo rin ako sa Lake Buhi dahil magaling talaga sila at hindi bumigay hanggang huli.”
PDBF president Marcia Cristobal was delighted by the record number of participants, pointing out that the 15 teams from the Philippine Canoe Kayak Federation joined the event held under close to ideal conditions.
“This just proves the local dragon boat rowing community is one big family,” Cristobal said. “This can only lead to more exciting Cobra regattas in the future.”
Cobra senior brand manager Jef Mendoza noted “the huge turnout confirms the status of the Cobra Energy Drink Regatta as the premier dragon boat competition in the country. We would like to thank the PCKF teams in making our final leg more competitive and exciting and look forward to their participation in future events. This may be the start of a unified dragon boat body in the Philippines.”
In a sign of unity, former and present members of the national team competed against each other in an exhibition race, delighting the close to 1,000 participants who took part in the competition.
Emerging as a force to be reckoned with in dragon boat rowing, Coast Guard stamped its class in sweeping the women’s 300-meter small boat and mixed standard categories with times of 1:34.40 and 1:21.19, respectively.
Air Force took second (1:39.47) and Triton A third (1::46.45) in the women’s contest while Triton A secured second spot (1:28.03) and PDRT Fireblades third (1:23.46) in the mixed division.
Despite the setback, Army, which won the second and third legs, ultimately won the men’s overall championship with a tally of 700 points, relegating Lake Buhi to second place (690) while the Onslaught Racing Dragons bagged third with 540 points.
Triton captured the women’s overall title (380), RCP Sea Dragons second (330) and Manila Ocean Park third (240). Triton likewise won the mixed standard overall (480), followed by MOP (380) and RCP Sea Dragons (370) in second and third, respectively.