After more than two years of hibernation, the Philippine Air Force Dragon Boat Club annexed 2 out of the 3 contested crowns at the 3rd Cobra-PDBF Dragon Boat Regatta to signal its successful return to the world of Philippine Dragon Boating. Upending Bohol leg champion Philippine Coast Guard and the veteran teams such as Triton, Manila Ocean Park and RCP, the Air Force showed devastating form to once again reclaim its position as the country’s top women’s and mixed team at the 300-meter distance events. In the showcase event of the regatta, Philippine Army managed to reaffirm its hold on the open 300-meter sprints to make the Regatta a clean sweep for the armed services.
Philippine Air Force took the Mixed 300-meter race with a sizzling 1 min 15.40 secs time to relegate erstwhile title holder Coast Guard to second with a distant 1 min 16.86 secs time. Triton and the RCP Sea Dragons completed the final four with times of 1 min 17.04 secs and 1 min 17.35 secs in a nose-to-nose battle for bronze.
In the women’s 300-meter small boat category, the Air Force once again showed their mastery with a time of 1 min 26.16 secs. This time, the Triton and RCP Dragons took the silver and bronze with times of 1 min 29.76 secs and 1 min 32.08 secs respectively. The Coast Guard, a far cry now from its brilliant performance in Bohol, were relegated to 4th with a time of 1 min 32.66 secs.
And in the final race of the day, the Philippine Army outsprinted surprising Buhi Camsur and perennial rival Lake Buhi to recapture the regattas’s plum title, the open 300-meter category. Army paddled in at 1 min 8.14 secs, clearly ahead of Buhi Camsur which clocked 1 min 9.98 secs. Lake Buhi, erstwhile lords of Camsur dragon boating, was demoted to third with a time 1 min 10.67 secs. The Onslaught Racing Dragons completed the honor roll with a time of 1 min 16.44 secs.
The resurgence of the Philippine Air Force Dragon Boat Team was made possible by its new Special Service head, Col Ralph Mamauag. Mamauag is a young, dynamic and aggressive officer whose healthy outlook for sports augurs well not just for dragon boating, but for the Air Force’s sports development and youth development programs. Expect giant strides from the PAF Dragon Boat Squad in the months to come.
The 3rd Cobra – PDBF Dragon Boat Regatta signals the return of dragon boat action to Manila. As more and more teams join the PDBF water wars, expect the drama to be more intense, the fans more active, the paddle warriors more motivated. Next year, the PDBF expects to have more action and adventure for the paddlers as they push further for more development in the four corners of country. “We cannot afford to relax now. We want to prepare for the next international races, and the only way to do that is to develop more talents. These talents are everywhere just waiting to be discovered, as we have found out in Camsur, in Zambales, in Bohol and even in far-away Butuan and Iligan”, PDBF SecGen Pinky Castillo stated. “With Cobra helping us in our grassroots development program, we can move the country to greater heights.”