Three University of the Philippines standouts and a Southeast Asian Games bronze medallist hit the qualifying standards and were recommended for inclusion to the national team that will see action in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia.
Edwin Giron and Mariano Masano came up with impressive times in the men’s 800-meters, while schoolmate and sprinter Alrhyan Labita made heads turn in the men’s 100-meter sprints during the three-day final tryouts last week at the Philsports oval in Pasig.
They joined women’s javelin thrower Evalyn Palabrica, a two-time bronze medal winner in SEA Games, who made it to the list of recommendees as well.
The 21-year-old Giron and Masano finished with clockings of 1:52.50 and 1:53.50, which were below the 2022 SEA Games gold medal time of Singaporean Joshua Atkinson, who grabbed first place in one minute and 55.75 seconds.
Labita finished the men’s 100-meter sprint in 10.98 seconds, a time near the 10.58-second bronze medal time of Singapore bronze medallist John Louis.
Palabrica, who settled for third place last year in the 2022 SEA Games with a 49.07 meter heave, impressed the coaches with her 50.26-meter effort.
“They will be considered after the coaching staff deliberates at the end of the National Open in Ilagan, Isabela,” said national head coach Jojo Posadas.
Posadas said Palabrica wasn’t being considered at first, but the coaches changed their minds.
“Inalis na siya sa roster. Pero ibabalik na ulit siya,” said national head coach Jojo Posadas.
Giron caught the eye of the national coaching staff when he bagged his second straight title in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines trackfest last December with his time of 1:53.56.
In the UAAP meet, Giron fended off Adamson University’s Edgar Carado and National University’s Erwin Mancao. Peter Atencio