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UST rowers get their 4th dragon boat title in a row

April 24, 2007 11:42pm
The University of Santo Tomas (UST) Tiger-Dragons rowing crew snared a rare grand slam April 16 for being adjudged inter-collegiate division champions of the fourth leg of the 2006-2007 Philippine Dragon Boat Federation Annual Championship Regatta at the Baywalk, on Roxas Boulevard, Manila.

The Tiger-Dragons got the title four times in a row.

UST team captain Paolo Cerin said the UST Tiger-Dragons Rowing Crew capped this year’s season by a convincing win, their fourth of the season, and getting their fifth straight pennant.

Cerin said the UST team is the first team in Philippine dragon boat history to accomplish such a feat since the start of the inter-collegiate dragon boat races, where rowing teams from all over the Philippines battle for the championship in three different divisions.

With an official time of 2:18:30 for a 500-meter race course, the Tiger-Dragons ruled the inter-collegiate finals followed seven seconds later by De La Salle University-Team A at 2:25:08, the University of the Philippines at 2:25:39, and the De La Salle University-Team B at 2:46:51.

San Beda College, last season's defending champion, did not make it into this year’s standings.

Cerin said the victory was achieved in spite of the grueling races the crew had to take part in.

The team also managed to claw its way up into the top of the standings of the Open Men’s Division where they faced elite teams from Camarines Sur, the Philippine Navy, Philippine National Police (PNP), and Philippine Dragon Boat Rowing Team.

“The team participated in more races than any other team did in this (day’s) races. In one instance, they had to practically get off one boat and load the other for the next race," Cerin said.

The UST Tiger-Dragons Men’s Crew also made team history after registering their team's best time ever at 2:12:43 in the open men’s division, coming in second behind the Camarines Sur Dragonboat Team which clocked in at 1:59:26.

This personal best led the UST Rowers to qualify in the finals of the men’s open division for the first time since their foundation, Cerin said.

The Camarines Sur Dragonboat Team, however, proved that they are still the best, when they came in first with a time of 2:04:92, followed by the the PNP Patriots at 2:05:81, the Philippine Dragonboat Rowing Team (PDRT) at 2:08:70, the Philippine Navy at 2:09:57, the 1925 Paddlers Club at 2:17:50, and lastly by the Tiger-Dragons who clocked in at 2:23:99.

Cerin said that the team’s entry into the finals landed the UST Tiger-Dragons Men’s Crew at the fifth overall spot in the national men’s open division annual standing, the only junior team to break into the top-10.

“Making it into the finals was already a great accomplishment! Sure, we didn’t finish first (in the men’s open division) but just being able to race and be among the top teams in the Philippines was more than enough. We trained for this, we did our best, we gave our all, and I am completely satisfied! But I know, we could do better and accomplish more if we train harder." says UST team captain, Paolo Cerin when asked what he thought of his crew’s performance.

The Tiger-Dragons was founded in September of 2005 by architect Christopher Cueto and Leah Panganiban.

In the short span of time since then, the team has already won five out of eight local inter-collegiate championship titles and brought home two bronze medals from International Dragon Boat races held in Malaysia and China in June and October of 2006 respectively.

They continue to dominate the national scene and are perennial representatives of the country to international inter-collegiate dragon boat championships.

Because of their winning tradition, the Team has been invited this year to compete in the prestigious Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races, Indonesia Dragon Boat Races, the 18th Thailand International Swan Boat Races, and the International Dragon Boat Races for University Students in China. - GMANews.TV
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