2014 ASG Athletics Profiles Boys

2014 ASEAN School Games Athletics and Fair Selection!

2014 ASG Athletics Profiles Boys

Alexis Soqueno

Palaro Record Holder Alexis Soqueno will have to work extra hard to defend his palaro title after a loss to his younger teammate.  Alexis Soqueno breaks the Palaro Record
Photo by Timeline/Roy Secretario

One of the country’s rising young high jumpers is Alexis Soqueno. Born April 9, 1998.

The playful teenager is coached by Brother-Sister tandem Miguel and Adrianna Arca. A small school of 400 at Romansita, Maravilla in Bacolod has had continued success this year.

Miguel and Adriana are like second parents to Alexis. He lives with and takes care of his expenses along with several other athletes they coach. He trains at the tiny school of Romansita Maravilla just outside Bacolod. Despite having limited facilities and only 400 students. Maravilla has produced 6 champions in Batang Pinoy and Palaro in the last few years.

In his first palaro in 2013, Soqueno took the bronze in the High Jump with 1.75m.

Soqueno had a wonderful year in the High Jump he won the Batang Pinoy Finals with a 1.91m PB. And he then went on to win the Palaro in 1.93m. At the national championships, Soqueno tied with Quilo who he had beaten in the previous two meets mentioned. Despite jumping a PB of 1.96m he lost on count back to Quilo and took the Silver.

Alexis who is also a keen Hurdler has the best time of 14.77 to win the 2013 Batang Pinoy Finals and 55.4 in the 400 Hurdles.

Alexis was chosen to represent the Philippines at the ASEAN Youth Championships in Myanmar, but due to a lack of funds, he was not able to participate.

Have risen to sixth in the 2014 rankings at the age of 16. This will be Alexis’ debut for the Philippines.


More on Soqueno

I sat down and talked for an extensive period with Coach Miguel Arca.

Arca from Bacolod explained to me the struggle has had to come up with extra sources of income to support the nine athletes who live in his house. He showed me how they had to improvise using the overgrown field at Romansita Maravilla National high school where they complete most of their training. It is provincial coaches such as Arca and his co-coach and sister Adrianna. Who sacrifice their limited salaries as teachers for the love of the sport.

I have to find extra ways to find money to help feed my athletes. We raise pigs and when the pig gets big hopefully we can sell that so we can buy some more food

This year Arca was allowed to promising long jumper Jerry Belibestre,

16 to a seminar sponsored by the IAAF in Doha, Qatar. There he learned a lot about diet. Tears filled Arca’s eyes when he explained how his athletes came from poorer families but despite the hardships managed to perform well.

He was also emotional when he described how one of his athletes, had to return home to his province because his father was ill and the boy had to give up his studies. Arca gave money to another college athlete he coaches to encourage the boy to continue and finish his studies.

Arca may not be the only coach making sacrifices for his athletes, but he and his sister Addy continue to inspire the lives of young athletes in Bacolod. We shared a tear when Arca explained how he was coaching Princess Joy Griffey in elementary the girl later went on to become the country’s #2 sprinter of all time.

In him, I find a kindred spirit someone who wanted change for the betterment of the sport, but he made so many more sacrifices.

His two wards Jerry Belibestre and Palaro High Jump champion Alexis Soqueno borrowed money from a friend to fund their trip. The three quickly made a new friend with the other occupant of the room Kirk Bacas from Northern Mindanao.

The mild Bacas was the silver medallist at the Palaro in the Triple Jump and Milo Little Olympic champion. He has amazingly jumped 14.25m with limited coaching assistance.

Bacas was delighted his luck had changed when Dario De Rosas approached him about the possibility of FEU. Bacas is looking forward to working with his idol retired National Record Holder in the Triple Jump Joebert Delicano.


Bryan Jay Pachecho

ASEAN School Games returnee Bryan Pachecho. He won the only medal in the five-person squad in his international debut last year. Men’s javelin bronze.

Aurora is native. Where soccer and basketball are popular and could produce a Palaro javelin champion.

Pachecho debuted in 2010. He placed fifth in the shot put at 9.38m in his final primary year. College freshman. He didn’t place in the Palaro’s throwing events.

In 2012, Pachecho won silver in the shotput behind WV’s Richie Cabanyog and the javelin with a 51.44m throw behind IRAA’s Abarra, who broke the palaro record.

Pachecho threw the javelin 57.81m in 2013 to break Abarra’s record. Amazingly, the top four broke the record. He finished second again to WV athlete Remzie Gemoga with a 13.37m throw. He placed 7th in the Discus for a second year.

Javelin came naturally to Pachecho.

His record-breaking performance got him into the ASEAN School Games in Vietnam. He won the bronze medal after throwing the javelin over 58 meters and breaking his personal best.

It was a 2014 Palarong Pambansa the best was yet to come. One of two multiple records holders with NCR Udtohan. Pachecho again shattered his record and set a new personal best to record 62.47m. It was just aswell because second place Patulud also threw well over the old record of Pachecho established the previous year.

But not just content with being the Javelin Record Holder, Pachecho threw a hefty 15.32m which shattered Richie Cabanog’s 2012 effort of 13.90m. And was just outside the junior record of 15.56m set by 2007 SEA Games Bronze medalist Eleazer Sunang.

He finally medaled in the Discus taking second in 36.94m.

At the National Championships Pachecho again defeated Patulud improving his personal best to 62.91m. He comes in with a very strong chance of climbing the podium for gold in Javelin and also in Shotput where he finished fifth at this event last year.

John Kenneth Nodos


Kenneth Nodos trying his luck in a shorter sprint event.

The fastest 15-year-old Filipino in the quarter mile of all time. Kenneth Nodos will make his debut at the ASEAN School Games.

Born August 3, 1998, in General Santos, and studying at GS City High School.

A product of the Batang Pinoy. Nodos finished second in the 400 meters there in 2014. He then finished with the silver medal at the PNG behind Mark Lirazan in the Junior Division. The only thing was Nodos was still only 15 his time of 50.46 where he finished ahead of athletes 3 or 4 years older than him. A few months later a Regional meet Nodos improved his best time to 49.6.

Kenneth holds best times of 11.36, 23.09, and 50.46et in the 100-200-400.

Although he is the third-best 400m runner in the ASEAN School team, Udtohan and Mejia chose to focus on other events so he makes his international debut in the 400 and relays in Manila.

Nodos rates 2007 SEA Games 400m Champion Julius Nierras, and province mate Henry Dagmil a triple SEA Games gold medalist in the Long Jump.  He said he has now fulfilled his goal by being selected for an international meet and wants to be as successful in the sport as Julius Nierras.

My idol in Philippines Athletics is Sir Nierres because he won a gold medal in the 2007 Sea Games and is humble.


Ninolito Justinian

Cebu continues to produce good male sprinters Abangan, Navaja, Noval, and more recently this young man Ninolito Justinian.

Justinian was born on January 3, 1998, and currently studies at Beatriz D. Durano Memorial National High School.

Although he failed to place at the Palarong Pambansa in the sprints, he came back with a silver medal in the Junior 200m at the PNG, finishing behind former Palaro Champion Romnick Nor and claiming the scalp of 2013 Palaro Champion Mark Lirazan.

We had not seen the end of this young man as he broke the Milo Little Olympic meet records in Marikina last month with times of 11.0, 22.4, and 50.7 in the 100,200, 400.

Lining up in his debut for the Philippines in the 200, 400 and 4×100 and 4×400 Relays will be a tough task for the 16-year-old. Who is up against some stiff international competition from Thailand and Malaysia?

Justinian is without the services of a coach, but now has quite a few offers from several schools in Manila so he is hoping he can land himself a credible specialist sprint coach.

Naturally, Justiniane’s idol is Leyte-born, but the former University of Cebu Athlete Julius Nierras the 2007 SEA Games 400m Champion. Justinian likes the humble attitude that Nierras brings to the game.

Justinian would like to follow in the footsteps idol. And one day bring honor by representing the Philippines in the same humble manner which Nierras has displayed. The opportunity to play at the ASEAN School Games will hopefully be the first of many times in which he will represent the country. He had this to say about the opportunity.

This is my first time but for me. This is a big challenge. but I will not promise that I will surely win I will make sure that I will do my best for my team. even though this is my first time. but I will give all my strengths and speed into the race. I train harder and harder buddy. even though my body is full of pain. but in my mind, this is for my team so ill do whatever it takes to improve my speed.


Romnick Nor

Romnick Nor is in full flight at the PNG.

Born January 16, 1996, he was born in Maguindanao, ARMM.

The Steam Train or The Nor Express. Showed a lot of promise at 14 he wound up last in the Palaro final against Daniel Noval (who went on to become the JR Record Holder).

The following year at the Palaro Nor won the 100/200 double in 11.0 and 22.3. He went on to become one of the youngest male National Junior sprint champions in Philippine Athletic History. When he took the scalp of defending champion Lindley Navaja at 15 years of age in the 100m at the PNG in Bacolod 2011.

Nor missed the 2012 Palaro mainly due to injuries. However, with a bandaged knee he came back to defend his national junior title in the 100-meter dash at the PNG in Dumaguete the following month. Nor made his debut for the Philippines at the ASEAN School Games. Then his second cap was at the Kotah Kinabalu Games in Sabah. This trip will be Nor’s third cap for the Philippines.

In 2013 he had some very close second places, first, he was second in a controversial finish to Mark Lirazan at the Palaro in Dumaguete, then at the PNG he wound up second to Jomar Udtohan in the youth boys 100-meter dash.

Nor opted to go to UST. Then in the UAAP he was milliseconds behind Jasper Tanhueco of DLSU in the 100m and finished a credible 4th in the 200m in his first playing year.

Asked why he chose UST

I decided here at UST because since when I was in high school. This is my choice, it is one of the best schools in the Philippines. And I know all of the athletes here are from poor families like me. And my course is a BACHELOR OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION major in SPORTS AND WELLNESS MANAGEMENT.

Nor regained his 100m Junior title in 2014. His third title in this event. And then added the 200-meter dash with a win over Lirazan at the 2014 PNG. He then had a win over another one of his rivals Jomar Udtohan. Taking the Junior title at the weekly relay finals.

His Hero is National Record Holder Ralph Soguilon, who like Nor is also a proud member of Marist schools. Nor is hoping one day he can make the national team and help his family back in the province. For Nor, his family and his faith in Islam are very important for him.

Nor is currently coached by Manny Calipes at UST, however, before this his coach was Jonathan Emmanuel.

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