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Former Palarong Pambansa standout rules Integrity Run

May 29, 2011 8:04pm
Former National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) medalist Michael Bacong breached the finish line of the 15-kilometer race by his lonesome to top the main event of the I Run For Integrity Towards A New Philippines on Sunday at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.

Bacong, who played sepak takraw before becoming an athletic star for Valencia City of Bukidnon province in the 2007 Palarong Pambansa, reached the finish line with a clocking of 57 minutes and 59 seconds to pocket the P10,000 top prize.

"Inaasahan ko naman na mananalo ako," said the 22-year-old Bacong, who won a gold medal in the 1,500-meter event of the 2007 Palarong Pambansa before becoming a San Sebastian College mainstay in the NCAA where he triumphed with gold medals in the 5- and 10-kilometer races in the absence of Kenyan runners.

With a pace of 3 minutes and 52 seconds per kilometer, Bacong found none among the runners who can keep up with him as he took command from start to end of the race organized by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP).

"After ng five kilometers, iniwan ko na sila," added Bacong, referring to eventual second placer Melanio Ayala (58:50) and Jonathan Galo (1 hour and 20 second),

Ayala's second place finish earned him P7,000 while Galo went home P5,000 richer after the event participated by 5,000 runners and supported by GMA News as main broadcast media partner.

In the women's side, former University of Santo Tomas (UST) star Nhea Ann Barcena posted another victory with a time of 1:02:44 and bagged the P10,000 top prize. Monica Torres (1:07:53) finished second to earn the P7,000 cash prize even as Peris Poywo (1:14:09) of Kenya salvaged a third place to pocket the P5,000 reward.

While Poywo barely posted a podium finish in the 15-k events dominated by local runners, the Kenyans ruled the 10-k events with Philip Ronoh (32:43) and Irene Kipchumba (40:05) winning the male and female races.

Abraham Missos (32:59) made it a 1-2 finish for the Kenyans in the men's category while Rafael Poliquit Jr. (35:42) came in third. Local runners Cinderella Agana (43:08) and Jenelyn Surdilla (46:36) placed second and third in the women's division, respectively.

Winners in the 10-k events pocketed P8,000 while second and third place finishers earned P6,000 and P4,000.

Meantime, Justine Tabunda (15:24) ruled the men's 5-k fun run while 59-year-old Peter Kennedy (15:35) of Great Britain was a close second-place finisher followed by Rex Adalin (21:16). Completing the top three spots in the female category were Adjenny delos Santos (18:53), Jolly Ann Ballester (22:34) and (Aileen Guinto) 26:44

Mark Garin (8:13), Dave Gumacal (8:19) and King Paul Pili (9:38) completed the top three podium finishers in the 3-k event while 15-year-old Marcy Grace dela Torre (10:41), 27-year-old Genevieve dela Pena 11:59 and 15-year-old Kristel Tambot (12:20) secured the top three spots in the female side.

Top finishers in the 5-k events were awarded P7,000, P5,000 and P3,000 while those who earned podium finished in the 3-k run won P6,000, P3,000 and P2,000.

Organizers said that the event was part of a campaign in raising awareness in the fight against corruption in the country.

"The reason we are doing this is to make the Philippines a model for ethical and progressive business environment in the Asian region," said Henry Schumacher, the Integrity Initiative project director, last Tuesday during the PSA Forum.

Integrity Initiative, according to its website, is a multisectoral campaign that seeks to institutionalize integrity standards among various sectors of society — business, government, judiciary, academe, youth, civil society, church and media. The initiative aims to help in diminishing, if not fully eradicating, the vicious cycle of corruption in the Philippines. - RJ/KBK, GMA News
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