National team standout Bernalyn Bejoy set the tone on the third day of the UAAP Season 86 Women’s Athletics Championships as she spearheaded De La Salle University’s drive to remain in the lead in the women’s division on Friday at the Philsports Track Oval in Pasig City.
The product of Romanito P. Maravilla Sr. National High School followed up on her surprise bronze in the 200 meters the previous day to claim the gold medal in her preferred event, the 400 meters, in a thrilling photo finish over fellow Lady Green Trackster Jessel Lumapas, both recording an identical time of 55.75.
“This is my first time na mag-compete sa 200 kaya actually hindi ko in-expect na mag-medal ako do’n kasi nga hindi ko talaga siya event. Pero for giving my all-out best, naniwala lang ako sa sarili ko.” Bejoy said.
“Pero for 400, pareho kami ni Jessel na main event ito. For me, kahit sinong manalo sa ‘min, ok lang, kasi it’s for La Salle. Nung last 50 (meters), nag-push lang ako; hindi ko napansin na nasilat ko pa s’ya. No hurt feelings naman kasi nakatulong kami pareho sa team,” added the 23-year-old native of Bacolod City.
Lenlyn Sanita of National University took the bronze in the event, which is considered the longest sprint distance, with a time of 57.67 meters.
Bejoy’s performance was followed by two record-breaking achievements from De La Salle athletes, with Daniela Daynata setting a new UAAP standard of 44.81 meters in the discus throw and Lumapas anchoring the 4×100-meter relay.
Daynata dominated the field, breaking the previous best mark set by University of the East’s Reah Joy Sumalpong in Season 79. NU’s Jane Cambonga secured second place with 39.65 meters, one meter ahead of UE’s Kassandra Alcantara’s 38.50.
Lumapas concluded the day with a comeback gold in the relay, showcasing a strong finishing kick and setting a new league-best mark of 47.02 seconds, wrapping up the efforts of Trexie Dela Torre, Hannah Delotavo, and Erica Ruto in the earlier legs.
The result secured both the 4×100 and the 4×400 relay records for the Lady Green Tracksters, erasing the previous record for the shorter relay set by University of Santo Tomas in Season 77 with a time of 47.35.
Far Eastern University finished second with a time of 47.39 seconds, while UST ended third with 48.29.
Another surprise bronze for De La Salle came from rookie Ana Eugenio in the 1500 meters with a time of 4:55.01, contributing to the team’s overall standing. Emmalyn Taypin of Adamson captured the first gold for the school with a finish of 4:52.07 in the same event, while Susan Ramadan of FEU followed with 4:52.36.
The other golds in the women’s division went to Katipunan ladies, both setting record-breaking feats — Ateneo De Manila University’s Jia Kawachi for the pole vault and University of the Philippines’ Sally Campus for the 3000m walk.
Kawachi, the graduating Blue Eagles captain, ended her UAAP stint in style with the pole vault title after an impressive clearance of 3.61 meters, breaking a nearly 15-year-old mark set by FEU’s Riezel Buenaventura at 3.40 meters. Female Tracksters Khrizzie Ruzol and Jessa Marie Libres ended with the same best height at 3.10, but the former secured the silver on count-back, and the latter clinched the bronze.
Fighting Maroon Campus, meanwhile, reset a similarly long-standing record — almost 18 years to be exact — with a new standard of 15:34.73 minutes against the previous 15:37.87 set by UST’s Adjennie Delos Santos. Female Trackster Leonalyn Raterta and Lady Tamaraw Yessamin Carbonilla rounded up the top three with times of 15:46.48 and 16:03.47, respectively.
Reigning men’s MVP Alhryan Labita boosted his bid for another top athlete award with two golds on Day 3 of action, also enhancing UP’s chances for a three-peat dating back to Season 81 against closest pursuer NU.
The national team upstart achieved a new personal best of 48.00 seconds in the 400 meters, just a few ticks away from the record set by Adamson University’s Joyme Sequita at 47.26, before leading the 4×100 relay for the Fighting Maroons later in the day.
Labita provided the headstart for John Carlo Yuzon and Clint Niño Neri in the relay event before Gene Ordinario crossed the line at 41.90, also marginally shy of a new UAAP mark.
NU’s Orly Orongan secured the silver with a time of 48.50, while 800 meters champion and fellow Bulldog John Lloyd Cabalo claimed the bronze with 48.77. Orongan and the rest of the school’s relay team took second place behind Labita and company with 42.61, as the UE Red Warriors completed the podium with 42.84.
The Fighting Maroons maintained a precarious 2.5-point advantage against the Bulldogs, leading 184-181.5, with the Adamson Soaring Falcons not far behind.
Leading Rookie of the Year candidate Kent Francis Jardin brought home the second of the first two golds for Adamson this season after a winning jump of 14.64 meters, just slightly ahead of UP’s Neri with 14.61 and NU’s Karl Aquino with 14.60.
The other gold of the day belonged to James Orduña of UE, who won the title in the 5000 meters with a time of 15:30.58 minutes. UP standouts Roy Laudit and Germar Marcelo finished 2-3 with times of 15:50.59 and 16:07.76, making up for a disappointing stumble from fellow Fighting Maroon and record-holder Josh Buenavista, who ultimately finished the race in 10th place.
The penultimate day of the championships begins at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the same Pasig stadium with the conclusion of the women’s heptathlon in the spotlight.