August Benedicto tops Asian Elite class in Ironman 70.3 Subic
August Benedicto, 33, was nowhere near the pros in the swim but he vows to work hard to improve his time. Christian Jacinto

SUBIC — With the Asian Elite title under his belt, August Benedicto is setting sights on making the pro ranks.

The 33-year-old Filipino finished the Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 in four hours, 25 minutes and 22 seconds, over 23 minutes ahead of Benjamin Rana (4:49:16).

"Last year, gusto ko i-defend yung title ko as Filipino Elite tapos ngayon Asian Elite na, nagimprove na rin," said Benedicto.

Benedicto did not hide his excitement though he remained non-committal on moving up to the pro ranks.

"Tignan nalang natin. Baka," Benedicto said with a smile.

The key for Benedicto is his continuous improvement in the water as he has struggled in the swim leg in the past.

Benedicto logged in a time of 30 minutes and 30 seconds in the water, more than seven minutes off the time of the pros in the 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run.

"Target ko na maibaba ko pa yung time ko sa swim. Yung swim talaga yung di ko strength, pero maybe, one day," he said.

"Talagang na-improve ko din yung swim ko. Dati ang laki talaga ng gap sa mga foreigners. Pero sa ngayon, sa tingin ko na-improve ko yung langoy ko at yung bike ko pa. Talagang pinaghandaan ko yung race na ito," he added.

"Masaya ako dahil andyan ang sunrise event na iniimprove ang competition at triathlon sa Pilipinas. Ganun din kay sir Fred (Uytengsu) na dinala niya yung 70.3 dito. Talagang iniimprove nila talaga yung level ng Filipino athletes."

Follow the writer on Twitter: @bassman500