It was a hard-fought comeback for John Mark Tokong as he beats Piso Alcala in an epic thirty-minute duel on the final day of the REEF Pro La Union.
Further, after four legs of the tour in Siargao, Lanuza, Baler and La Union, Philmar Alipayo (Men’s Shortboard), together with Nilbie Blancada (Women’s Shortboard), Daisy Valdez (Women’s Longboard) and Mark Aguila (Men’s Longboard) were declared the first Philippine Surfing Championship Tour grand champions.
Tokong and Alcala, both from Siargao Island, were the two standouts of the event, throwing down some of the most impressive combinations seen in the tour. The two gave the audience a great showdown but Tokong took advantage of his priority and scored an impressive 8.25. This established his lead over Alcala.
Tokong’s victory was long overdue after struggling in the past three legs. His undying determination and perseverance paved the way for his monumental win at the surfing capital of the north.
“I’m so happy that I made it to the Finals! I always get through by the last wave, same during the Semifinals. The waves were hard to catch because the wind started to pick up but I maintained my focus to win this contest. I want to thank all the people who supported me all throughout the season especially to my sponsors. I will be flying to Australia tomorrow to look for a surf coach and train there,” Tokong said.
Meanwhile, Piso Alcala was in incredible form and really fought his way towards the Finals. He needed an 8.0 score to win against Tokong, however, his last wave, which he hoped would gain him the crown, fell short by a few decimal points.
“It was hard out there. I maintained my focus and stayed in the peak. John Mark is a good surfer and I saw his determination all throughout the contest,” said Alcala.
The first-ever PSCT Men’s Shortboard Grand Champion Philmar Alipayo celebrated when it was announced that his good friend Tokong won the finals. He ran in excitement towards the beach to welcome the latter and onto the crowd shouting endlessly.
After his upsetting loss during the Semifinals, Alipayo was completely anxious watching the Final heat since if Alcala wins, Piso would be declared as the overall champion but if Tokong won the match, Alipayo would take home the crown and be declared as the first-ever overall PSCT Champion.
“I was so nervous. I really can’t contain my emotions during the Finals. It is a surreal experience for me being the first-ever champion of Philippine Surfing Championship Tour. I would to thank all my sponsors for making this dream of mine a reality and to the PSCT team for putting up an event like this, professionalizing the sport of surfing in our country,” said Alipayo.
The Men’s Longboard Finals put up an intense battle between two of the best longboarders in La Union, Roger Casugay and Benito Nerida. Nerida, who gave an exceptional performance during the Finals, scored a 9.25 during the last three minutes of his heat.
In an unexpected turn of events, the race for Men’s Longboard overall championship had a tie between Mark Aguila (Baler) and Nerida. A surf out had to take place to break the tie. Aguila didn’t expect to surf again after his Semifinal loss against Casugay and decided to give his best to secure his win and take home the PSCT Men’s Longboard overall championship title.
In the Women’s Longboard division, it was a clear sweep for local surf pride Daisy Valdez after winning both Lanuza and La Union legs. Similarly, in the Women’s Shortboard division, Nilbie Blancada from Siargao also dominated every leg of the tour. “I just enjoyed surfing with my friends and gave all my best to win the championship crown. I thank my big sister for introducing me to surfing. Without her, I guess I won’t be able to achieve this,” said Blancada.
REEF Pro La Union official results:
Men’s Shortboard Division:
1st Place- John Mark Tokong (Siargao)
2nd Place- Piso Alcala (Siargao)
Equal 3rd- Philmar Alipayo and Edwardo Alciso (Siargao)
Women’s Shortboard Division:
1st Place- Nilbie Blancada (Siargao))
2nd Place- Vea Estrellado (Sorsogon
Equal 3rd- Anamae Alipayo and Jolina Uriarte (Siargao)
Men’s Longboard Division:
1st Place- Benito Nerida (La Union)
2nd Place- Roger Casugay (La Union)
Equal 3rd- Mark Aguila (Baler) and Loynex Ruina (Lanuza)
Women’s Longboard Division:
1st Place- Daisy Valdez (La Union)
2nd Place- Ikit Agudo (Siargao)
Equal 3rd- Aping Agudo and Maricel Parajes (Siargao)