Filipino bets make waves

GENERAL LUNA, Siargao — Thirteen Filipinos moved into the Round of 32 joining three other seeded compatriots in the 26th Siargao International Surfing Festival at Cloud 9 Saturday.

Defending champion John Mark Tokong, Philmar Alipayo and Rogelio Esquievel, a silver medalist in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, were given automatic spots to the next stage.

Twelve heats, eight in the Round of 48, were held on opening day with 11 Filipinos hurdling the first two rounds to reach the next stage.

Jayuard Alciso turned in the best performance among those who saw action, posting 14.75 points to top the second heat. PJ Alipayo came in second with 13.75 points.

The top two performers in each heat advance.

Sweden’s Kian Martin is the top seed with Japanese Daiki Tanaka taking the second spot.

The other seeded players are Japanese Yuji Nishi, Indian Varun Tandjung, Indian Oney Anwar, Japanese Takuto Ohta, Joh Azuchi and Ryuki Waida in that order.

“Hope to see you in the final,” Tokong told Philmar Alipayo as they watched their compatriots.

Alipayo, the 30-year-old husband of actress Andi Eigenmann, said he has yet to compete against his 26-year-old rival in the same heat.

In the women’s division, eight Filipinas made it into the Last 16 led by SEA Games gold medalist Nilbie Blancada who topped the first heat with the day’s best 9.10 points.

The other survivors were Via Estrellado, Jolina Longos, Susan Escanilla, Shelamae Arjona, Dianne Nogalo, Maria Graciela-Migullas and Ana Mae Alipayo.

The top four seeds in the distaff side are No. 1 Japanese Nanaho Tsuzuki, No. 2 Australian Ziggy Aloha Mackenzie, No. 3 Anon Matsuoka and No. 4 Sumomo Sato of Japan.

The week-long festival was formally opened later in the afternoon with Surigao del Norte Rep. Bingo Matugas and General Luna Mayor Sol Matugas heading the guest list.

Seventy-five surfers signed up for the island’s biggest international event.

In his message Friday, Rep. Matugas said the surfing festival should serve as an inspiration for Siargao, still recovering from the destruction brought by super typhoon Odette last December.

Mayor Matugas, on the other hand, said the festival is a big boost to tourism, the town’s main revenue source.

“Much of the town’s earnings are derived from tourism. Hopefully, the week-long festival will bring in more investments,” she said.

At least two-thirds of the town’s resorts remain closed but Matugas happily reported a 65 percent increase in earnings in the last three months.

“We still need the help of the national government for us to fully recover,” she said.

“We need capital for our entrepreneurs.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *