IN an awesome show of strength and stamina, Philippine Air Force dominated the third and fourth legs last Sunday in a marathon conclusion to the Cobra Energy Drink-PDBF Dragon Boat Regatta at the Manila Bay overlooking the Baywalk along Roxas Boulevard.
Racing under ideal conditions, the Air Force paddlers swept the 300-meter Open, Women’s, and Mixed Standard events of both legs of the competition sponsored by the country’s leading energy drink, beginning early in the morning and finishing near sunset.
They capped their campaign in grand style and with plenty to spare, leading from start to finish in topping the Open division of the fourth leg with a time of one minute and 11.39 seconds of the series organized by the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation.
Philippine Coast Guard was relegated to second place (1:13.50), while the Bruins placed third (1:15.39) in the 41st and last race of the day after 15 races were held in the morning in a carryover of the third leg, which was cut short due to the turbulent Manila Bay waters then.
The Air Force bets had a tougher time in fourth leg’s 300-meter Women’s finale, rallying in the last 50 meters to surge past pacesetting Triton A to win by a whisker in 1:33.80 against the latter’s 1:34.34. Coast Guard finished third (1:41.61).
They also picked up the Mixed-Standard plum, ruling the race 1:14.60 by a half-boat length over second-place Coast Guard (1:15.82) while Rowers Club of the Philippines wound up third (1:19.59) as the last leg of the Cobra regatta series drew another banner field of 41 teams.
“Our paddlers really worked a lot and were determined to win. They practiced every other day for this event,” bared Air Force First Lt. Mohammad Sali Abubakar, who thanked PAF chief, Lt. Gen. Edgar Fallorina, for fully supporting the squad.
Due to their overpowering form in both legs and as icing on the cake, the Air Force team romped off with overall honors in the Men’s and Women’s division with 690 and 540 points, respectively while taking second in the mixed standard category with 550 points.
Coast Guard took the overall crown in the Mixed Standard division with a tally of 560 points while RCP-A placed third (470). Triton A (480) was second in the Women’s division.
“We would like to thank both participants as well as their supporters for sticking with us to the end after a long day of races. This shows the strength of the dragon boat rowing community and our successful partnership with the PDBF in staging this regatta,” said Cobra Senior Brand Assistant Tahmi Abrena after the eight-year sponsorship of the dragon boat rowing series.
“We wanted this last day of the Cobra regatta in 2016 to be a memorable one and we would like to thank all of the teams for their continued support of the event,” said PDBF Marcia Cristobal, adding that some of the Air Force bets would be considered for international competition.
Cristobal, who is thinking of stepping down after eight fruitful years as PDBF president, spiced up the day with some side events such as the “Mannequin Challenge” as well as the Mr. and Ms. Cobra Dragon Boat Regatta.