In the most awaited rematch between two of the best dragon boat teams in the country today, the Army outlasted its arch-rival, Lake Buhi, in a hotly-contested 250-meter open finals at the recently-concluded 2013 MBC Manila Bay Summer Sea Sports Opening. It was a neck-to-neck battle at the start, with the Army taking a slim lead at the half. Noted for their strong finishing kick, Lake Buhi tried to pull off a spirited rally at the homestretch. But this time, the Army paddlers had trained even harder and unleashed the stamina to stave off the challenge of their worthy opponents at the finish. Once again, the Army owns bragging rights to the crown. Taking the bronze was a vastly-improved Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) team, followed by the surprising Manila Ocean Park (MOP) Paddlers.
For the women’s event, the Triton team, composed of professionals from different fields of work in Manila, continued to wield its supremacy. Surprising the better-supported teams in the field, and egged on purely by their love for the sport, Triton has consistently been challenging the other teams with better results. They were followed closely by the PCG and the MOP. For the mixed event, it was the PCG lording it over the Triton and the MOP. Clearly, PCG, Triton and MOP have the most complete and competitive teams in the dragon boat community today.
It is in the showcase open event however, where things are starting to look more and more interesting. Army had long dominated the result board in the absence of its perennial rival, the Navy. Recently, however, Lake Buhi had started to mount a challenge. As if to underscore the emergence of Camarines Sur as a watersport power, Lake Buhi’s paddlers have slowly but surely posed a threat to Army’s dominance.
In the 1st leg of the Cobra Regatta Races this year, Lake Buhi finally wrested the crown from the Army! That set the stage for the rematch last weekend, as thousands of dragon boat enthusiasts paraded to Manila Bay to witness the much-heralded rematch. Many were quick to say that the Army Team was now getting old. Others thought that the Lake Buhi win was a fluke. Everyone in Manila Bay watched with bated breaths.
But the Army came better prepared this time. The earlier loss was so humiliating for them, it provided the challenge to recapture the old passion to win. And win they did, in a most convincing manner. So we have unfinished business in the main event. It’s the Army and Lake Buhi going after each other’s necks for now.
And this will get even more interesting in the 2nd Cobra-PDBF International Club Crew Challenge in Bohol this April, as the Navy is set to join and compete with the Army, Lake Buhi and the other crown pretenders in the dragon boat kingdom. In an earlier article, the Pacquiao-Mayweather-Marquez scenario in local dragon boating was discussed. (Please read: https://cbholganzablog.wordpress.com/2013/03/12/pacquiao-marquez-mayweather-version-of-philippine-dragon-boating/.) Indeed, this is the exciting event people have been longing to see for years. And everyone who’s a who’s-who in the local dragon boat world will want to witness this.
This is what the Bohol clash is all about. A first-time duel in a long, long time between two tough adversaries. The Army vs the Navy, eyeball-to-eyeball. The emergence of a new challenger, Lake Buhi, breathing down the necks of the two heavyweights. The parade of new talents from here and beyond. The PCG, bringing in their own national athletes to the fray. Lake Buhi CamSur, with their own talents ready to mount a surprise. The country’s best-of-the-best coming to a single venue to give the sporting world a match made in heaven. Not to mention the dangerous SJM of Macau. This is no ordinary race-with-a-smile thing, folks. There will be no time to stop and smell the roses. This is for simple bragging rights – and that’s really all that matters – to be crowned as the champion dragonistas in the country today.
The 2nd Cobra-PDBF International Club Crew Challenge will be held in Tagbilaran Strait, Bohol this April 28-29. Produced by the Provincial Government of Bohol, the Department of Tourism, the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation, Tapok-Tapok Bol-Anon, Cobra, Philex Mines, Smart, and Cetaphil, it is co-produced by LJ Lumayag of K & N Productions, Bohol Paddlers Association, Tagbilaran City and the municipalities of Dauis and Maribojoc.
Major sponsors are: Bluewater Panglao, SunLife Insurance, Sun Cellular, First Consolidated Bank, Hyundai, and Zoocolate Thrills. Other sponsors are: 2Go, Oishi, AMR, Starlite, Truckworld, Eskaya, Ramasola Studios, Egay’s of Dauis and Island Prints. Their media partners are: Manila Bulletin, Sports Digest, Philippine Star, Business Mirror, TV5, Solar Entertainment, Sports Unlimited, Bohol Chronicle, DZRH, DYRD.
So if you’re truly a dragon boat fan, don’t fail to watch the clash of the titans. Watch the 2nd Cobra-PDBF International Club Crew Challenge this 28-29 Apr in Dauis, Bohol. See you there!!!