WITH Dara Clariza Evangelista dazzling in the pool, Davao City closed in on leader Zamboanga City with victories in arnis, table tennis, chess, and badminton as the two regional sporting forces sustained their charge in the Philippine Olympic Committee-Philippine Sports Commission Batang Pinoy 2012 Mindanao leg in Dapitan City.
The 15-year-old Evangelista powered her team to the girls’ 15-under 200-meter medley relay to pluck her fifth gold of the meet Saturday and become one of the most promising finds in the regional leg.
The 5-foot-5 Evangelista also owned the gold in the 15-under 50m freestyle, 400m free, 200m free, and 800m free to lead Davao City's 9-gold romp in the pool.
But Zamboanga City shared some of the bounty by winning seven, led by Glenn Adrian Arsula who annexed his third gold with a win in the boys 11-12 200m free.
Davao City also reigned supreme in arnis with five gold medals to show led by Denise Lagumbay in pinweight full contact, Jennilyn Morcello in flyweight full contact, Jasmin Alabe in featherweight full contact, Catherine Lei Segura in bantamweight full contact, and Anthony William Ceniza in welterweight full contact.
Cagayan de Oro took two golds in kata through Britney Josh Abines, who shone in girls anyo single weapon, and anyo double weapon.
Chess also became Davao City's bulwark of strength as Austin Jacob Literatus accumulated six points each to snare the golds in boys’ standard and blitz, respectively.
Teammate Dhona Yngayo also had a perfect sweep to take the girls standard, while 11-year-old Allaney Jia Doroy broke the monopoly with a gold in girls blitz for Agusan del Sur.
The 15-year-old Literatus, already a Fide Master for winning age-group gold medals in Asian-plus and Asian championships, made the most of his last stint in the tourney. He is a fourth-year high school at Dona Carmen National High School in Toril.
Zamboanga City, which boasts of an athletic program that runs all year long, has so far captured 31 golds, 19 silvers, and 19 bronzes to lead the medal race. Davao City is in close second place with 22-18-9 tally, while Gen. Santos City A is a far third with a 7-3-0 harvest.
Davao del Norte bagged two more golds in table tennis held at the Jose Rizal Memorial State University gym through Celso Cubio, who bagged the boys singles gold and the mixed doubles top prize in tandem with Princess Carolino.
Melody Intog topped the girls singles to hand Cotabato Province its first gold of the meet.
Zamboanga City and Davao City even grabbed a share of badminton honors with a gold medal each at Dapitan City Cultural Center.
Jerickson Obaob held sway in boys singles for Zamboanga City, while Marinel Diansay lorded it over the girls singles for Davao City.
Adriene Estremos and Ronald Deon Omana worked hand in hand to win the boys doubles gold for Dipolog, while Karina Mae Pollentes and Dera Jamaica Ganzon topped the girls doubles for Gingoog City.
Zambo City expectedly bagged the lawn tennis boys team title with singles and doubles champ Noel Damian Jr., at the helm, while Davao del Norte dominated the girls team title.
Gen. Santos City won three golds in athletics headed by Fauzi del Rio who got his second gold of the meet by winning the boys 14-15 triple jump. Louie Restauro and Mary Jane Lawas also scored in boys 13-under triple jump and girls 14-15 javelin, respectively.