BACOLOD CITY -- Lorenzo Jenkins Labao of Baguio City bagged two more gold from the pool Friday and became in the Batang Pinoy National Finals at Panaad Park and Stadium here.
The shy, soft-spoken 15-year-old tanker surprised even himself following his masterful sweep of his seven events considering the City of Pines isn’t known as a swimming haven owing to its cold climate.
“Because it's too cold in Baguio, only a few of us really excelled because only a few showed hardwork and determination to continue training in cold waters,” said the third year high from University of Baguio Preparatory School.
He completed his gold collection by topping the boys 13-15 100-meter butterfly and 200m individual medley on Chinese New Year.
Earlier, he strung up victories in the 400m freestyle, 50m butterfly, 400m IM and the 200m medley and freestyle relays along with Dan Christian Leyba, Renz Gawidan, and Neil Nazarro.
Despite Labao’s individual heroics, Quezon City still ended up with the most number of team golds with 14 behind Raissa Gavino and Kirsten Chloe Daos, who accounted for three victories each.
Baguio City chalked up 10 golds, while Davao City, Manila, Lucena, and Bohol bagged five gold medals each.
In triathlon held early in the morning, Sta. Rosa, Laguna's Julius Constantino scored an upset over national pool reserve Frederick Albert Chiongbian of Cebu City when he bagged the boys gold medal.
Constantino, 15, peeled away in the third and final lap around the oval during the bike stage to clock 27 minutes covering 400m swim, 8.4km bike, and 2k run event. He bested the promising Chiongbian (27:34), who is being considered for the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing this year.
Cainta's Sam Ranque was third (27:49).
The 5-foot-9 Constantino, who studies at Colegio de San Agustin, padded his lead in the run event to score gold in the meet after finishing fourth in last year’s edition of the meet.
Twelve-year-old Nicole Eijansantos of Quezon City also pulled a surprise when she pulled away early during the swim stage to dominate the distaff side with a time of 29:50, besting older rivals Lauren Justine Plaza of Binan, Laguna (30:05), and Victoria Deldio of Olongapo (30:39).
Eijansantos, a six-grader from School of the Holy Spirit, led from start to finish and said it was a very tough race for her but was relieved to win the gold on her first Batang Pinoy appearance.
Iloilo City captured nine of the 12 gold medals at stake in arnis anyo competitions or forms.
Crystal AJ Bartonico accounted for three of them, namely girls single weapon solo, double weapon solo, and sword and dagger solo.
Over at Negros Occidental National High School grounds, World Series veteran Iloilo defeated Gen. Santos City (14-2) and Bacolod (6-0), respectively, to post its fourth win in the seven-team girls softball event.
The Little League Asia Pacific/Middle East champ needs only one more win to secure the top spot and outright finals berth in the single-round Page system format where the second and third-ranked teams battle it out for last final slot.