JAMLETH Marie Villanueva of Olongapo City won three gold medals in the pool as long-distance runner Erwin Generalao snatched the first gold of the games at the start of the Philippine Olympic Committee-Philippine Sports Commission Batang Pinoy Games Northern Luzon leg in Pangasinan.
Villanueva, 12, dominated the girls' 12-under 200-meter backstroke and the 200m butterfly before helping her team in the 4x50 meter medley at the Dagupan City Pool Site.
The 15-year-old Generalao bested five other runners in the boys' 14-15 age group 5,000m run in 17 minutes and 18.9 seconds, winning the first event of the five-day meet for athletes 15 years old and below.
Generalao, a senior at the Baguio City National High School, beat Ace Joshua Hipona of Candon, Ilocos Sur (18:48.3) and Baguio's Reymark Quezada (18:54.3) at the Narciso Ramos Sports Complex in Lingayen.
Villanueva, a seventh grader from Olongapo, clocked 2:51.82 in the 200m back to beat Christian Llanne Vallejos of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan (2:57.16) and La Union's Thea Isabelle Langit (2:59.14).
“I have more events coming up and I hope to win them all,” said Villanueva, who will compete in the 100m back and fly, 50m fly and 4x50m free in the next two days.
Villanueva, whose father is a police superintendent at Camp Olivas, won the 200m fly in 3:03.02 over Angelica Samelo of Bulacan (3:06.19) and Denisse Crystel Cruz of Malolos (3:27.97).
She helped Olongapo defeat Baguio and host Pangasinan in the 4x50m medley after their quartet completed the race in 2:31.17.
Rafael Barreto also shone in boys' swimming with two gold medals in the 12-under 100m and 400m freestyle. The 11-year-old from Guiginto, Bulacan clocked 1:01.67 in the 100m free, defeating Marc Audrey Santos of Malolos, Bulacan (1:06.26) and Baguio's Leandro Faelnar (1:12.98).
Barreto timed 4:54.29 in the 400m free to defeat Santos (4:57.89) and Orlando Mejia of Baguio (5:53.93).
Dexter John Lacuna, younger brother of London Olympian Jessie Khing Lacuna, won the boys' 13-15 400m free in 4:50.98, defeating John Ishmael De Leon (5:06.90) and Marverick Belarmino (5:19.67).
James Galima of Candon, Ilocos Sur ruled the boys' 2,000m run in 7:12.8, Pangasinan's Briceline Soriano took the gold in the girls' high jump with a 4.07-meter leap and Teofilo Manawat of Pangasinan reigned supreme in the shot put with an 11.18-m throw.
The host province’s Irene Tabora won the girls' 14-15 high jump, Rona Joy Casem topped the girls 13-under 2,000m walk, Rolando Bandarlipe ruled the boys' 13-under 2000m walk, Rico Navarro bagged the gold in the boys' 13-under long jump, and Karen Cayetano dominated the girls' 14-15 shot put.