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Ateneo, UST tankers split top honors

September 29, 2008 04:12:00
Jasmine W. Payo
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—The championship run isn’t over for Ateneo de Manila University as the Blue Eagles captured two more UAAP crowns to boost their title collection to four in as many days.

After dominating the men and juniors basketball Finals, the Eagles pulled off another double-division victory by ruling both the women’s and boys’ swimming action Sunday at the Trace Aquatics Center in Los Baños, Laguna.

University of Santo Tomas matched Ateneo’s double by clinching its first men’s title in 19 years with 223 points and its fifth overall girls’ crown with 260.

Santo Tomas also paraded the meet’s version of American Michael Phelps as 14-year-old Gian Berino—an athlete ironically banned by the Philippine Amateur Swimming Association—shattered seven records, including a 15-year-old mark and a pair of decade-long records, in the boys’ competition of the meet.

The Lady Eagles—bannered by Gem Ong, Nikki Santiago, Bianca Uy, May Decena, Ian Banzon and Mia Crespo—set history by bagging Ateneo’s first women’s swimming title since joining the league in 1978.

Posting a surprising lead early, the Lady Eagles piled up 216 points to end UST’s four-year reign.

“It’s due for us to win the championship,” said Banzon, Ateneo’s team captain. “Our new recruits gave us a big lift.”

University of the Philippines, led by MVP Luica Dacanay, fell short of Ateneo by just three points at 213. The Tigresses settled for third (172).

The Eaglets clinched their fourth straight crown behind Karlo Lim, Max Austria, Jared Mella and Julius de Guzman with 385 points.

Berino, last season’s rookie MVP, smashed the records in the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle, 200m backstroke, and the 200m and 400m individual medleys.

A talent from Tondo, Berino swam the 200 IM in 2 minutes and 20.86 seconds to shave nearly two seconds off the 2:22.72 mark set by Carlo Manotok in 1993.

Berino also clocked 17:34.95 in the 1500m free to beat by eight seconds the previous mark of 17:42.55 set in 1998 by Mikhail Reyes.

Another 10-year record fell as Berino finished with a time of 5:01.21 in the 400 IM, besting Reyes’ mark of 5:01.91.

Berino also ruled the 200 free in 2:05.21 to break the 2:06.29 clocking of Julius de Guzman last year. He also erased three of his own records set last season in the 400 free (4:25.95), 800 free (9:08.35) and 200 back (2:21.19).

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