Iloilo reigns over Negros in epic West Visayas sports rivalry 

Erwin Delilan

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Iloilo reigns over Negros in epic West Visayas sports rivalry 

CHAMPS. Team Iloilo during the parade of athletes in the 2024 Western Visayas Athletic Association Meet.


In a battle of two provincial powerhouses, Iloilo bags the overall crown against perennial rival Negros Occidental in the Western Visayas Athletic Association Meet

BACOLOD, Philippines – A home-court advantage didn’t help Team Negros to achieve its main goal – to seek revenge against Team Iloilo in the Western Visayas Athletic Association (WVRAA) Meet. 

In another epic rivalry between the two sports powerhouses, Iloilo collected 103 gold, 76 silver, and 64 bronze medals to rule the elementary and high school regional event co-hosted by Negros Occidental and Bacolod City from May 2 to 7.

It was a “sweet victory” for the Ilonggo athletes, who reigned in athletics, swimming, wrestling, dancesport, and boys’ basketball, among other sports.

With Iloilo topping for the second straight year, Negros settled for a runner-up finish anew with a haul of 88 gold, 86 silver, and 73 bronze medals.

“We need to step up. We will bounce back,” said Tony Agustin, provincial sports coordinator of Negros Occidental, on Wednesday, May 8, admitting to Rappler that the Ilonggos’ back-to-back WVRAA titles underscored the “bitter truth” that they’ve overtaken the Negrenses.

Negros had been the perennial regional champion, dominating the elementary, secondary, and para games categories for decades.

But in 2018, Iloilo surprisingly bagged the overall championship to dethrone Negros. 

While Negros reclaimed the crown the following year, it didn’t get to defend its title as the COVID-19 pandemic put the games on hold from 2020 to 2022. 

In the tournament’s comeback last year, though, Iloilo again reigned supreme.

Team Iloilo, under the leadership of Governor Arthur Defensor Jr., was officially hailed WVRAA 2024 champion during the closing ceremony at the Panaad Park and Stadium in Barangay Mansilingan, Bacolod City Wednesday night, May 7.

Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said it was an “unwanted defeat,” prompting him to order an immediate assessment on the performance of Team Negros. 

But Lacson also cited the lack of preparation as Team Negros only had two weeks to gear up, while Team Iloilo started training its bets since February.

Agustin said Negros “will be coming up with the best move to reclaim the championship status from Iloilo next year.”

Antique will serve as host of the 2025 WVRAA Meet.

“This time,” Agustin disclosed, “we will be roaming the entire province to scout potential athletes – train and support them all the way.” –

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