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14 PEAT! | Big City athletes retain Palaro overall title

By Mark Manez

VIGAN, Ilocos Sur - One hundred golds and still invincible!

After an intense week full of action-packed moments, Vigan, and the Heritage Province of Ilocos Sur will call the curtains as the 2018 Palarong Pambansa awaits its grand closing ceremonies at the ultramodern Quirino Stadium, Saturday afternoon.

For the 14th consecutive year since 2005 in Iloilo, the National Capital Region still remains the standard for school sports excellence as they collected 100 gold, 70 silver and 50 bronze medals and ran away with the overall title.

They also surpassed their total overall output of 209 medals last year in San Jose de Buenavista, Antique with 220.

It will also be the fifth time NCR breached the century mark in total gold medals collected.

Their all-time highest output occurred in Lingayen, Pangasinan in 2012 where they plucked out 150 gold medals.

The last three gold medals for the reigning and defending Palaro champions turned out to be the icing on their impending celebration.

NCR hoopsters led by National University Bullpups trounced Davao, 100-80 to defend their Palaro basketball secondary boys title.

Their lady counterparts likewise made mincemeat of Western Visayas to take home their sixth consecutive secondary girls title.

Meanwhile, Mikaela Joy de Guzman's performance in the secondary girls badminton singles capped out a masterclass show of force after she pulled out an improbable upset over Calabarzon's Jochelle Alvarez, 21-16, 11-21, 24-22 to cap the record-breaking act.

[Related Story: De Guzman defeats Alvarez in classic secondary girls badminton singles finals to end Palaro]

Calabarzon, at distant second garnered a total of 55 gold, 50 silver and 73 bronze medals for a total of 178.

Western Visayas trailed them at third with 46 gold, 45 silver and 55 bronze medals (146 overall).

Central Visayas rose to fourth with their 26 gold, 25 silver and 36 bronze (77 total), while Cordillera achieved their highest ranking in recent years at fifth with their 25 gold, 22 silver and 23 bronze medals for 70 total.

Northern Mindanao also had their best performance with 23 gold, 18 silver and 29 bronze medals enough for sixth overall.

Surprise front runners from Day 2 SOCCSKSARGEN fell to seventh, still with a commendable 21 gold, 26 silver and 32 bronze medals (79 overall).

Central Luzon not far behind at eighth with their own 21 gold, the same number of silver and 24 bronze medals (66 overall).

Next year's Palaro host Davao Region sits at ninth with their overall haul 12 gold, 27 silver and 28 bronze medals (67 total).

Cagayan Valley winds up their Palaro campaign with 11 gold, eight silver and 14 bronze medals (33 overall).

Outgoing hosts Ilocos Region jumped two places from last year as they collected 10 gold, 11 silver and 31 bronze and now sit at 11th place.

Eastern Visayas at 12th (9-10-9, 28 overall), Bicol at 13th (8-16-28, 52 overall), Caraga 14th (8-10-20, 38 total), and Mimaropa 15th (5-12-12, 29 total) complete the other spots in the final tally.

Zamboanga Peninsula, meanwhile won their only gold medal at this year's Palaro with Raymond Damian and Nilo Ledama pulling an upset over NCR's Joseph Gabriel Tiamson and Diego Ramon Dayrit in the secondary boys tennis doubles event.

The region also added nine silver and 23 bronze for a total output of 33 medals and placed sixteenth in the medal board.

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, meanwhile, sits last in the board, taking home three bronze medals.

Follow him on Twitter: @MAManez_DPH16