In an explosive performance given by Baler’s top surfer in the opening minutes of La Union Pro shortboard finals against Siargao’s underdog Loloy Espejon, Neil Sanchez clinched on his breakthrough victory this year which will give him a boost of confidence as PSCT near its 2019 series completion this December 15 to 20 in Surf City, Borongan, Eastern Samar.
The 21-year surf prodigy from Baler was ready to take on the challenge of redeeming his position as one of the top surfers in the country. Sanchez’s consistency and determination to overcome any tricky situation during the elimination round proved that at a young age, Sanchez has what it takes to represent the Philippines in the future.
“Sobrang saya kasi nag champion ako ulit dito sa PSCT. Basta sobrang saya ko (I’m so happy because I’m was able to be the champion again in PSCT. I’m so happy.),” says Sanchez.
When we asked if he will be competing in the final leg of PSCT in Borongan, Eastern, Samar, he said that he was able to book his plane ticket already and he is excited to surf in Borongan for the first time.
Meanwhile, in the Men’s Longboard Division, La Union’s top-caliber surf athlete and SEA Games National team member for surfing Roger Casugay gave a jaw-dropping performance from quarterfinals to the finals as he displayed prowess in his own style of surfing.
He met his teammate Jay-r Esquivel in the semifinals and the two longboarders gave an exciting hang ten and hang five exchanges which gave the judges a hard time in giving out the scores simultaneously. Casugay and Esquivel’s final match was one of the best finals match-up, solidifying their names as the best longboarders in the Philippines. Rico Dumaguin’s first longboard final appearance in PSCT made him nervous while Roger Casugay’s championship experience gave him a solid boost of confidence.
The two battled like it was a boogie party out there in the line up. Hang five and hang ten exchanges but Roger’s expertise and style catapulted him towards his victory.
In the Women’s and Junior Division, Ikit Agudo from Siargao claimed her first victory in this year’s PSCT season. Agudo will also compete in the upcoming Sout East Asian Games which gave her a particular advantage and boost of morale in representing the Philippines in the women’s longboard category.
The soft-spoken junior surfer Noah Arkfeld also from Siargao proved to everyone that he has the capabilities of a champion. Arkfeld has been competing in local surf competition in the Philippines which gave him an advantage over his competitors.
This was his first major breakthrough after he won the Junior’s division of La Union Pro. “I went here to surprise him and to give him a boost of confidence. I’m so happy to see my son win this contest,” says Noah’s dad Douglas Arkfled.
After her hiatus in professional surfing after she gave birth to her first baby, Nilbie Blancada from Siargao is back and her first mission is to win another PSCT competition, and surely without a doubt, she did it.
Dominating the women’s shortboard division, Nilbie Blancada proved that she’s still the undisputed queen of women’s shortboard in the Philippines.
” I’m so glad to be back, finally after a few years of rest I’m here again competing,” says Nilbie Blancada. She will also represent the Philippines in the upcoming South East Asian Games this coming November 30 to December 10 in San Juan, La Union.
The La Union Pro 2019 is presented by the provincial government unit of La Union, Funky Quarters, Gwapitos, and Mad Monkeys. With the support of Kudo Surf, Cebu Pacific, Havaianas Philippines, Fat Lips Surf Shop, ABS-CBN Sports and Action, CNN Philippines, ANCx, Inquirer.net, Metro Channel, Tagpuan sa San Juan, Clean Beach, Olas Banditos, Flotsam and Jetsam Hostel, Seabuds La Union, Inq Pop, Fluidsurf, Be Siargao, PAGCOR, VANS Philippines, Maui and Sons, Beach Hut, DWIZ, My Life on Board, Fluidsurf, Heineken, and Surftown La Union.
Special thanks to La Union Surf Club and the Little Surfmaid for sharing your waves and shores with us for this competition.