Friday night was the midpoint of the UAAP. Any team that wants to pull out of the competition to secure itself for the championship would have to have a strong showing.
Far Eastern University came out of day two as the leader in the medal and points tally, followed by University of Santo Tomas, with De La Salle University trailing behind the growling tigers.
Day three also included the much-awaited 4x100m relay, which would boost team momentum coming into the last two days of the competition. The competition is not over yet, although signs are already showing as to who will take the podium finish come Sunday night.
Top-end Speed vs. Speed Endurance
The grueling quarter mile race was a spectacle to see, as defending champion Michael Del Prado of DLSU was set to retain his gold medal.
Upon the graduation of Gabriel Soriano of the University of the Philippines (UP), who was the champion in season 77, Del Prado’s only real challenge in this race was Clinton Kingsley Bautista of FEU.
Bautista, who comfortably won the 100m and 200m on Wednesday and Thursday night respectively, has the upper edge when it comes to top-end speed. However, the one-lap race will require more than that, which Del Prado’s speed endurance can help gain the upper hand.
In the heats, Del Prado ran a 49.76-second quarter mile to rank first among the qualifiers for the finals.
Coming up behind Del Prado was a relaxed Bautista who ran 50.03 seconds. A close third was Del Prado’s teammate John Kenneth Nodos who clocked 50.07 seconds, only 0.04 seconds behind Bautista.
The finals remained unhinged, but not without its fair share of excitement.
Bautista led majority of the race as he tried to gain the upper hand to draw away some momentum from the rest. However, Del Prado was just behind Bautista, tailing the 100m and 200m champion.
At round the last 50m of the homestretch, Bautista started fading and Del Prado surged to take the victory with 49.07 seconds. Bautista finished with 49.31 seconds, seemingly giving the race to Del Prado as he was overtaken. Coming in at third was Nodos who clocked 49.70 seconds. These are the only men who ran a sub-50-second race that night.
FEU Dominates Jumps Anew
Thursday night saw FEU send shockwaves to the stadium as they won first, second, third, and fourth places in the long jump event, sweeping away the competition.
Friday night was no different, as FEU once again delivers. A triple jump gold, silver, and bronze medal finish was accomplished by the team.
FEU jumpers were led by the newly crowned long jump champion and record holder Janry Ubas, who recorded 14.96m for the gold medal. Ubas also won the decathlon gold medal Thursday night.
Following the lead of Ubas was teammate and long jump silver medalist Kirk Bacas, who recorded 14.42m. Ubas and Bacas were the only athletes who recorded above 14.0m.
Finishing the gold, silver, and bronze medal sweep was Keith Quilo, who recorded 13.86m.
FEU also picked up two other bronze medals that night to increase their medal and points haul for the competition.
In the javelin throw, Rejohn Cliff Gadian threw 50.42m to take home the bronze medal.
Around 4.0m ahead was DLSU’s Joshua Patalud who threw 54.16m, a massive throw that gives DLSU the gold medal it needs to maintain its hunt for the podium finish in the overall ranking. Mark Conrad Manipod of UST was 3.0m behind Patalud, registering 51.42m for the silver medal.
Evelou Abutas delivered the other bronze medal for FEU Friday evening. His time of 9:47.46 was good enough for a third place finish in the 3000m steeplechase.
It was Reynold Villafranca of UE who came out on top in that race with a time of 9:33.64. Villafranca bested season 77 champion John Rey Moreno of DLSU who was two seconds behind with 9:35.18.
So far, FEU’s only Bump in the Road
FEU had a strong line-up in the 4x100m relay, with their team consisting of Bautista, Ubas, William Galceran, and John Kenneth Paculba.
Horror struck as FEU was disqualified after a failed first baton pass. This was capitalized on by the other teams.
UP and UST took the early lead after FEU dropped the baton, with DLSU tailing the two other teams.
Come the third leg, UP and UST pulled away from the rest with UP having the lead. Ateneo de Manila University shortened the gap between them and DLSU coming into the last 50m of the homestretch.
UP, consisting of Leoniel Tigtig, Ryann Bugarin, Jaime Mejia, and Melvin Sangalang, bested the rest with a time of 42.46 seconds for the gold medal.
Joel Hera, Roque Lesondra, Dustine Devera, and Romnick Nor of UST fell short of the gold medal and had to settle for silver with a time of 42.54 seconds.
ADMU’s anchor leg ran by Jose Maria Ramos could not cover enough ground to fully close the gap with DLSU’s anchor leg runner Michael Del Prado.
DLSU, consisting of Del Prado, Nodos, Jericho Ejercito, and Alvin Vergel ended up taking the bronze medal with 43.32 seconds. On the other hand, ADMU consisting of Ramos, Henry Gonzales, Miguel Guevarra, and Gabriel Vera Cruz settles for fourth place with 43.56 seconds.
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