ILOCOS SUR, Philippines – Misamis Oriental’s Marc Angelo Cabiluna topped the triple jump competition to complete a back-to-back gold in the penultimate day of action during the 2022 Batang Pinoy National Championships at the Quirino Stadium in Vigan City on Tuesday, December 20.
The 15-year-old Cabiluna from the Villanueva National High School in Misamis Oriental gave his team its first gold via long jump on Sunday, December 18, at the expense of his rival from the Masbate Sports Academy.
“Save the best for last. I know that you can do it,” Cabiluna’s mother and coach Cherry told the teenager after he blundered during the first of his last three triple jump attempts on Tuesday morning.
.The mother’s words worked like magic, transforming the 5’2” Cabiluna into the same warrior who clinched for the Misamis Oriental delegation its first-ever long jump gold in the week-long competition.
Redeeming himself, Cabiluna defeated the taller but a year younger Jonathan Bellosillo in the second try of the eight-jumper finals, 13.23 to 13.16, and in the final third attempt, 13.34 against 13.27, to complete a double-gold finish.
“Even in our long jump duel, he always out-jumped me on the second attempt during the elimination rounds. That motivated me to do better in the final round. Of course, Nanay Cherry’s words were like magic,” said Cabiluna, teary-eyed.
The 14-year-old Bellosillo was humble in defeat, twice in a row against a more determined Cabiluna who came to Vigan with a big dream to become a member of the Philippine team one day.
“We’re all friends here. What’s more important is we give our best and then, I’m younger than him. Hopefully, I will become the next Batang Pinoy,” Bellosillo said.
Impressed, Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association (Patafa) head coach Sean Guevara advised Cabiluna and his mother to work on their passports for a possible stint abroad.
Guevara said he will recommend the new Batang Pinoy long jump sensation for a slot in the Asian Youth Championship that will be hosted by Uzbekistan in April 2023.
“Marc would have to go through a long process before he becomes a member of the Philippine team. But at this age level, his performance is excellent,” said Guevara, who established a national high jump record in 2005, before he retired due to a hip problem. – Rappler.com