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Winning for the team comes first for record-breaker Batungbacal



UAAP Season 77 Rookie of the Year awardee, Aldo Batungbacal was one of the key cogs of Ateneo in their successful campaign to win back-to-back UAAP Men’s Swimming Championships this Season 78. Batungbacal has amassed numerous medals across two UAAP seasons, but it was how he broke a record that has stood for little over a quarter century that will live in his memory.

Cesario Palacios of National University set a record of 16:55.53 in the 1500m freestyle event in 1989 that lasted for twenty-six years. Though the championship was just a formality for Ateneo, Batungbacal was relentless in aiming for the gold medal in that event, especially after suffering a defeat in the relay event the previous night. Together with Brandon Sing, Justin Sy, and Paolo Mutuc, Batungbacal anchored the 200m Freestyle Relay team to a bronze medal finish – one of two events Ateneo did not win the gold.

Once Batungbacal touched first in the 1500m freestyle event, he was be stunned as the clock showed 16:49.89, enough to break Palacios’ long standing record. “First of all, gusto ko manalo for the team eh. So yun lang yung, relay na hindi namin nagawa or record, so gusto ko magcontribute from that. So naisip ko today, kailangan ko bumawi. Honestly, hindi ko inexpect na magrerecord ako. Happy ako ngayon na nakarecord ako”, Batungbacal said.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Winning for the team comes first for record-breaker Batungbacal

Before he broke the record, Batungbacal felt well-prepared to excel in the 1500m freestyle event because of his coaches and the training program they implemented. He later added, “Kailangan ko manalo. I want my first gold this season, kasi wala pa akong ginto. Naisip ko rin na sayang yung training ko sa distance freestyle. Parang yun yung favorite workout ko everytime I work out na freestyle. Yan yung favorite ko.”

Furthermore, Batungbacal expressed gratitude to some of his more senior teammates because they let him compete in the said event. He noted that he would not have won the gold and the new record if they competed in his stead. He believed that if his teammate, Axel Ngui, was not able to accomplish it in the past three years, then he would have no luck in achieving it. “Hindi ko po talaga inexpect na nag-record ako. Kasi last year po si Axel hindi niya na-break, pero sabi niya hindi na po niya na-max out ang event. Ako, na-max out ko. Inexpect ko dahil hindi na break ni Axel, hindi ko mabebreak. Tapos pag tingin ko sa coach ko, tignan mo nagbiblink. Kailangan ko yung win na ‘to”


Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces