Ilocos Norte Loses IRAA Champ Title

LAOAG CITY (March 21) – The Pangasinan II schools division emerged champion in the recently-concluded Ilocos Region Athletic Association (IRAA), now called Region I Athletic Association (R1AA), finally dethroning Ilocos Norte.

Pangasinan II scored most of their 503.5 points in basketball, arnis (boys and girls), badminton (boys and girls), chess (boys and girls), sepak-takraw (girls), taekwondo (boys and girls), tennis (boys and girls), football, sipa, table tennis (boys and girls), and volleyball (boys).

Ilocos Norte, tallied 490.5 points which came from badminton (boys and girls), football, softball, swimming (boys), sepak takraw (boys), arnis (boys), volleyball (girls), chess (boys) and table tennis (boys).

(Ilocos Norte DepEd division Supt. Cecilia P. Aribuabo partly blamed their recent IRAA debacle to the absence of some Ilocos Norte’s potential athletes who became ill for chicken fox and other ailments and failed to see action in the hostilities).

Pangasinan I maintained its third place position last year with 476 points.

Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr., in congratulating the winners, said that the R1AA championship for Pangasinan II was a welcome development which signifies the strong will of Pangasinenses to achieve excellence in various fields.

He noted that Pangasinan’s mission to be Number One has already been accomplished in the regional level with the various awards and citations conferred to the province recently by the Regional Development Council (RDC) for its remarkable achievements in various fields of development.

“I am happy that finally our efforts paid off. We were able to beat the perennial champion for 11 years. What we should do now is to work doubly hard to maintain the championship next year because I am sure Ilocos Norte will try to bounce back to reclaim the crown,” he said.

He also emphasized the need to “rationalize the province’s sports development program” to provide direction and further hone the sports prowess of Pangasinan athletes according to their forte and strength.

Meanwhile, Dr. Viraluz Raguindin, Pangasinan II schools superintendent, expressed elation over the victory of Pangasinan athletes attributing it to the hard work, determination and strong will of the young athletes to win as well as the support of the provincial government. “It’s about time that Pangasinan athletes shine,” she said.

Before the start of the week-long competition, athletes underwent rigid in-house training for two weeks aside from tune-up games to prepare them physically, emotionally and mentally.

The rankings are: 4th, La Union (308.75 points); 5th, Laoag City (195.25); 6th, Alaminos City (130.25); 7th, Dagupan City (121.5); 8th; San Carlos City (102.75); 9th, Urdaneta City (99); 10th, San Fernando City (91); 11th, Ilocos Sur (82); 12th, Candon City (70), 13th, Batac City (62.5); and 14th, Vigan City (45).

The winning teams in the various sports events will compete in the Palarong Pambansa in Dapitan, Zamboanga Del Norte on May 8-14. (ANL/DOS-PIO/PIA)