PHILIPPINE Navy and Philippine Coast Guard renewed their intense rivalry last Sunday, with the Navy paddlers narrowly prevailing in both instances in the action-packed second leg of the Cherifer Premium-PDBF Dragon Boat Regatta at the Manila Bay.
Racing under ideal conditions, Navy rallied in the last 40 meters to slip past Coast Guard in ruling the men’s open 300-meter standard boat race in one minute and 16.09 seconds to the latter’s 1:16.91 of the event organized by the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation.
Bruins and RCP Dragons A had their own skirmish for third place, with the former taking third (1:18.33) in the competition also backed by the Manila City government, Manila Ocean Park, BSI Medicated Spray, Schick, Banana Boat and Tent City.
Earlier, Navy surged to an early lead before holding off rallying Coast Guard in topping the mixed standard 300-meter finals in a time of 1:19.91, while their rivals had to settle for being the bridesmaid once again (1:20.48) in the well-attended meet that drew a banner field of 46 teams. Triton A placed third (1:23.81) and RCP Sea Dragons fourth (1:25.07) in the regatta likewise supported by Rolls Republic, Bangka Pro and the National Parks and Development Committee.
Showcasing their deep talent pool, the Navy bets romped off with the women’s small boat 300-meter trophy (1:42.49), while Triton A won its close duel for second against the RCP Sea Dragons in placing second (1:47.74) of the competition also supported by Manila Rep. Yul Servo-Nieto and Sun Life Financial.
“We were really aiming for a sweep of the events in the first and second legs, but Coast Guard beat us in the mixed standard race in the opening leg,” Navy coach, Sgt. Suhod Hakim, said. “Malakas din ang Coast Guard so we expect a good fight from them in the next legs.”
“I’d say it’s been an excellent race day because we were worried about the elements working against us,” said PDBF President Doji Lopez with relief. “Our prayers were heard. There was no rain, the wind calmed down, the waters flattened out and the clouds stayed so wala sa aming nasunog ang balat.”
“We aim to level up in the succeeding legs,” said PDBF Secretary General Jenny Escueta, noting that races were virtually trouble-free and the event wound up earlier than expected.
Lopez was also delighted by the huge turnout and response to the second leg of the Cherifer Premium-PDBF Dragon Boat Regatta as a huge stretch of the Baywalk was wrapped in a holiday-like, festive atmosphere from morning till early afternoon.
“Since we took over (as officers), it has always been our consistent commitment to find more ways to innovate and improve,” Lopez stressed. “We want to make the regatta a better experience for everybody involved: the sponsors, the teams, players, and, of course, the audience. And we aim to make each of our events even bigger than the last one!”
On top of the usual colorful play-by-play by the race announcer, an aerial video drone beamed live action of the races from start to finish on a giant screen onstage, while the Ukulele Underground Phils. band regaled the audience with their unique sound and sang popular Pinoy tunes during breaks.
The third leg of Cherifer Premium-PDBF Dragon Boat Regatta will be in September, Lopez announced.