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Obiena starts year with a bang

Pole vault ace EJ Obiena — one of the brightest stars of 2022 — picked up from where he left off and led a bountiful harvest for Team Philippines at the start of the new year.

Obiena hit the ground running and vaulted to the silver medal in the season-opening Internationales Springer-Meeting in Cottbus, Germany with his 5.77-meter effort behind Sam Kendrick’s 5.82 meters.

Just getting started, the Tokyo Olympics veteran cranked it up in the next tournament, the Perche En Or in Roubaix, France, and posted a golden mark of 5.82 meters to beat Jie Yao of China.

Obiena’s back-to-back podium finishes put him front and center as the Philippine Sportswriters Association fetes the achievers for the month of January.

Filipino bets on other fronts also opened 2023 hostilities with a bang.

Flyweight Aaron Bado bannered a one-gold, one-silver and two-bronze haul from the Philippine contingent in the ASBC Asian U22 Boxing Championships in Bangkok.

Bado stunned Thai World Championship bronze medalist Thanarat Saengphet via split decision, 3-2, to reign supreme in the 51kg category as bantamweight Flint Jara collared the silver and minimumweight Mark Durens and featherweight Jericho Acaylar brought home bronzes.

Fencers delivered eight golds, seven silvers and 11 bronzes in the Southeast Asian Fencing Federation Championships in Kuala Lumpur to finish second behind Vietnam, which collected 13 golds, 10 silvers and 12 bronzes.

Accounting for the mints were Noelito Jose (senior men’s epee) and Wilhelmina Lozada (senior women’s foil) Alexa Larrazabal (cadet women’s epee), Maegan Elizabeth Co Say (cadet women’s saber), Andre Dominic Agatep, Thomas Robert Cabrera, Ram Jimenez and Enrico Suplico  (junior men’s team saber), Maiev Tyrande Boy, Kaikaku de la Serna, Arianna Tiu and Say Co (junior team women’s saber); Jene Baccay, Miyake Capina, Janna Allysah Catantan and Belarmino (junior team women’s foil) and Agatep (junior men’s saber).

Pinoy Esports experts made their marks early as well.

ECHO won the fourth edition of the Mobile Legends Bang Bang World Championship (M4) in Jakarta, beating Blacklist International in an all-Filipino finale, 4-0.

The E-Gilas Pilipinas national team for NBA 2K hoisted the Southeast Asian regional crown in the eFIBA Season 1 after outclassing Indonesia in the grand finals, 2-0.

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