MANOLO FORTICH, Bukidnon—Jan Paul Morales of Navy-Standard Insurance tries to further widen the gap as the Mindanao Leg of the LBC Ronda Pilipinas 2016 goes to this municipality Thursday with the 21.7-kilometer Stage Four in Brgy. San Miguel here.
The 31-year-old Morales came through with his first lap victory in the Stage 3 criterium in Pueblo de Oro in Cagayan de Oro Tuesday to put more distance between him and the chase pack, headed by fellow Navymen Lloyd Lucien Reynante and Ronald Oranza.
Morales said he will need a smooth and solid performance in Stage 4 to finally secure the title.
“I just try to make it a smooth ride as much as possible,” said Morales, who will be flagged off last for being the wearer of the red LBC jersey, which symbolic for the race leader, in Filipino.
Entering today’s lap, Morales has accumulated 39 points, including a whopping 28 points from reigning supreme in Stage 3 and finishing second behind Oranza in Stages 1 and 2 in Butuan City over the weekend.
He got eight points from ending up second behind eventual King of the Mountain winner Reynante and another three points for ruling the intermediate sprint both in the opening stage.
Reynante is at a distant second with 29 points, while Oranza, who reigned supreme in the first two stages, is at third with 27.
Morales said he’ll just try to keep it a trouble-free ride in the last two stages to secure victory.
“I’ll just try to avoid trouble,” he said.
The Daniel Ven Carino and Rudy Roque were at joint No. 4 overall with 25 points apiece, while Joel Calderon is in sixth with 14 points followed by another Navyman John Mark Camingao (11).
Navy’s El Joshua Carino, the elder brother of Daniel Ven, was at No. 8 with nine points while LBC-MVPSF’s Arnold Marco (7) and Team LCC Lutayan’s James Paolo Ferfas (6) rounded up the top 10.
The race, presented by LBC and LBC Express, sanctioned by PhilCycling and sponsored by Manny V. Pangilinan Sports Foundation, Petron and Versa Radio-Tech 1 Corp. with Maynilad and NLEX as minor sponsors, will close out with a 158.32-km Stage Five in Malaybalay, Bukidnon on Saturday.