Mapua’s Darell Menina made his mark as the fastest man in the NCAA after winning the inaugural Skills challenge Friday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
The speedy Mapua sophomore was a late-replacement for Almel Orquina. “Nung una sinabihan ako kaso biglang si Orquina yung nalista kaya sinabi ko kay coach,” he said.
The Talisay City, Cebu-native clocked in the fastest time in the preliminary round with 24.6 seconds. Making it to the Final Four are Arellano’s Kraniel Villoria with 27 seconds, JRU’s MJ dela Virgen with 28 ticks, and Perpetual’s Flash Sadiwa checking in with the second fastest time with 24.8 seconds.
San Beda’s Radge Tongco and EAC’s Raymund Pascua almost made it to the Final Four but had blunders. Tongco almost made it but fumbled two of his three-point attempts, stepping on the line causing a delay, while Pascua had trouble with the three-point shot, attempting 14 triples before finally making one.
FIRST ROUND RESULTS:
Darell Menina (MIT) 24.6 seconds
Flash Sadiwa (UPHSD) 24.8 seconds
Kraniel Villoria (AU) 27 seconds
MJ Dela Virgen (JRU) 28.0 seconds
Matthew Bernabe (CSJL) 28.2 seconds
Reymar Caduyac (LPU) 32 seconds
Franz Pasamante (CSB) 32 seconds
Ryan Costelo (SSC-R) 33 seconds
Radge Tongco (SBC) 39.5 seconds
Raymund Pascua (EAC) 53.2 seconds
In the heads-up semifinals, Darell Menina staved off Dela Virgen after making his first three-point attempt while Villoria advanced to the finals after edging out Sadiwa.
“Walang pressure dito,” Villoria said prior to the final heads-up battle. On the other hand, Menina said that Villoria was the faster student-athlete. “Mas mabilis siya,” he said.
The Arellano student-athlete was faster then Menina during the entire course of the race but missed his first attempt from downtown.
“Feeling ko talo na ko kasi shooter din si Villoria,” the Mapuan said. “Kaya nanalangin na lang ako nag magmintis siya.”
Villoria missed three more attempts before the Mapuan closed it out on his third attempt.
For Menina, this win was special because of his parents and girlfriend. His family visited Manila just to watch him during the weekend festivities.
“Na-inspire ako sa family ko kasi sayang naman ang punta nila dito,” the inaugural skills challenge champion closed.