Tag Archives: Geelo Arayata

The Golden Bronze

I was on my fifth year with the college team when I first encountered Paco. My first impression of the incoming college freshman was his being undersized. Even though he possessed the heft (he did have a well-built set of guns!) vertically, Razon was quite lacking.  In contrast to established junior stars like Mike Mendoza and the Unso brothers, Paco wasn’t heavily recruited coming into college. In fact, he had no high school track & field experience at all.

After being hounded by an elbow injury last season, Razon came into his final year of UAAP eligibility as the dark horse. In his four years with the college team, the podium had been an elusive prize.

In light of our five year age gap, Paco and I became teammates for just one UAAP season. Off  the track, I hardly knew the guy. But we remained in touch in the subsequent years, talking mostly about our favorite track & field topics.

Strangely though, I never had the chance to watch Paco actually compete. In his first year, I was too busy with my own event (held at the same time as the javelin) to watch my other teammates compete. In the next two editions of the collegiate meet, I neglected the javelin competition to watch the sprint hurdles. Coming into UAAP 73, I made it a point to finally watch Paco in action.

And I did not go home disappointed.

In one last herculean heave, Paco threw the javelin as if his life depended on it. The people on the Ateneo side collectively gasped as the implement remained suspended in mid-air, as if frozen in time. Paco knew something big was afoot. It was a good throw, to say the least.

As soon as he learned that he had broken his previous personal best by a massive five meters (48.54m), all hell broke loose. From fifth place, Razon the underdog overtook his teammate and good friend, Miguel Sibayan, for the bronze.

In the next five minutes or so, Paco the dark horse whopped it up like a man possessed.  He shouted to the high heavens, hugged and slapped hands with teammates and competitors alike. There were no haughty displays of arrogance, what transpired was pure exaltation at having achieved the improbable.

We were all cheering at the bleachers, especially those who knew Paco – who had been with the guy through thick and thin. And I swore I saw Geelo Arayata’s (Paco’s fellow senior and training buddy) eyes glisten amidst the afternoon sun. Said Arayata in Paco’s Facebook wall: “I told you you could hit 48m! Only the two of us believed it. The others just saw it.”

Indeed, the beauty of sport, as in life, lies in the unexpected.

I spent the good part of the last decade watching the UAAP athletics. If I could highlight one particular moment amidst all the unforgettable scenes I’ve witnessed through the years, Paco Razon’s golden bronze, without a doubt, tops them all.

Video credit:

Fons Lavina

Ateneo Tracksters top Unigames 2010

The Ateneo de Manila Men’s Track & Field won its second championship this season. The Blue Tracksters topped a quality field in the 2010 National University Games (UniGames) in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental. De La Salle University and Rizal Technological University placed 2nd and 3rd over-all, respectively, in the men’s standing. On the distaff side, the ladies finished second over-all behind powerhouse UST.

First things first, the officials should have rounded up the hand-timed results to the nearest tenth – to conform with IAAF regulations. I guess they follow their own set of competition rules down south!

Reading the results sent over by Glenn Arcanghel of UST, the most impressive performance would have to be Soy Soriano’s 200m dash domination (21.56s). The Ateneo speedster built up a 0.5s lead over Palarong Pambansa champion Daniel Noval of De LaSalle University – College of St. Benilde (22.04s). Soriano emerged as a three-time gold medallist (100m, 200m, Classical Relay)  in the two-day meet.

Soriano set a new meet record in the 200m dash.

Sister schools DLS-CSB (42.50s), DLS-Dasmarinas (43.08s) and DLSU-Manila (43.24s) reigned supreme in the 4x100m relay. Ateneo fell to fourth place (43.44s) behind the dominating performances of the aforesaid three schools.

Men’s 4x100m relay (video from Ralph Soguilon)

The Unso siblings notched a unique hurdling double, with the older Jose (14.93) edging out UST’s Emman delos Angeles (14.95) for gold in the 110m high hurdles. Patch, the youngest son of 400m national record holder Renato Unso, registered an easy win in the lows (55.31s) over an outgunned field.

Ateneo’s rookie Al Bugarin heaved the shot 12.81m to snare the gold. Veteran Geelo Arayata topped the Discus Throw (38.96m).

On the distaff side, Mica Sibayan threw 32.57m and 10.19m in the Discus and Shot Put, respectively. Anj Aquino stopped the clock at 13.06s to finish third behind UST’s Luville Dato-on (12.47s) and Meriam Colangoy  (12.52s) in the 100m dash. UST dominated all the female relay events.

Download the Unigames 2010 Athletics Results (from Glenn Arcanghel and Pinoymiler)

Read the GoAteneo write-up

Read Pinoymiler’s Unigames 2010 Wrap-up

View Unigames 2010 photos here

I wasn’t able to watch the competitions because of work – and the sheer distance of the venue to Manila! Nevertheless, I was ecstatic when I heard the news from an old teammate. I was fortunate to be part of the first Ateneo track & field contingent to the Unigames (2003, La Salle Dasmarinas). The men’s team came home empty-handed. Nina Buenaflor salvaged the honor of the school with her double bronze medals in the long and triple jumps. A year later in Bacolod, we notched a couple of close 4th place finishes, but still went home without the bling-bling. In my senior year, we finally won our first medals and finished 3rd over-all in the general standings (Unigames 2006, Bacolod).

Read: Payback

Photos from Bettina Maclang

To see the current crop of tracksters hoist a gigantic trophy is priceless!

Video credit:

Ralph Soguilon

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