Krog wins pro cycling in Fil-Am Criterium Grand Prix in Pampanga


MANILA — Promising rider Rex Luis Krog ruled the men’s pro division in the 6th Fil-Am Criterium Grand Prix held at the Clark Development Corp. parade grounds in Angeles City, Pampanga on March 25.

Krog, who bagged the men’s junior silver medal in the Asian Cycling Championships in Myanmar last February, won the title over Lord Anthony del Rosario of Philippine Army (second), Archie Cardana of Philippine Navy (third), Alfie Catalan of Army Cycling Team (fourth) and Warren Burgos of 7-Eleven Cycling Team (fifth).

Mylene Mercado crossed the finish line first followed by Blaire Neri in the Women’s Open division of the annual competition organized by former national cyclist Wilson Blas.

In the Juniors (29 years old and below) category, Jester Neil Mendoza of Team Quiatia was declared champion. Kristian Emmanuel Reyes of BikeHub was second followed by Ean Camingao of Arctic Water, Jhon Albert Gile of Boy Kanin and John Paolo Monton of Team Quintio.

Custer Sardonas of Opus Land won the Seniors (30-39 years old) title while teammate Roderic Calla finished second. Vernon Amaranto of Team Excellent placed third followed by Sherwin Diamsay of Tarlac Cycling Club and Juan Miguel Garcia of Opus Land.

Alfredo Mapa of QCCC topped the Veterans (49 years old) category while Roderic Calla of Opus Land placed second followed by Joel Balucos of Team Excellent, Romeo Camingao of Opus Land and Albert Primero. Shintaro Valdez and Ivan Mayrina were the Top 2 finishers in the Celebrity category.

In the Master (50 years old and above) category, Ricky Pedrina of Team Excellent was crowned champion after beating Elmo Duenas of Boy Kanin (second), Joselito Santos of Daniel’s Coffee (third), Bel Lacaba of Boy Kanin (fourth) and Ernesto Hortaleza of Opus Land (fifth).

The Top 5 finishers in the Manager’s Race category were Alfie Tanco, Richard Villanueva, Rey Reyes of QCCC, Peter Gan of GStar and June Louvanie Escaner of Ecnal.

Blas, a member of the national track team from 1993 to 2004, has expressed his gratitude to the people who continuously support his tournament.

“I would like to thank everyone who made this year’s tournament possible. Thank you to all the participants and congratulations to the winners. See you in the 7th Fil-Am Criterium Race,” said Blas, a member of the national track team from 1993 to 2004, in an interview on Tuesday.

Blas, a native of Malabon City, migrated to the United States in 2005. He was a sophomore nursing student at the Arellano University before he left and continued his studies in the US. He is now working as assistant nurse at the St. Vincent Medical Center in California.

“I never left cycling when I moved to the US. As an athlete, I know that Filipino cyclists are good. I decided to join cycling clubs. I was a member of the Velo Lagrange Pro 1/2 cycling team, now I am with the Southbay Wheelman team,” said Blas, an enlisted member of the Philippine Army during his time in the national team.

With the support of his cycling friends in the US, Blas was able to organize the Fil-Am Criterium Grand Prix for the past six years.

“My friends and teammates in the United States and the Philippines are very supportive of my advocacy. They donated most of the prizes for the tournament,” said Blas.

“I am thankful to Richard Hiraga, the founder of GQ6 hydration supplements for providing the champion jersey, as well as Grace Manzano, Roy Cruz, Jun Villalobos, Carlo Ponce, Jim Meneses, and Fil-American triathlete Noriel Sinsuangco. These people have been helping me since the first Fil-Am Criterium race in 2012,” said Blas, who won medals in the Southest Asian Games (SEAG).

The first Fil-Am Criterium Grand Prix was held at the Neopolitan Complex in Fairview, Quezon City. The following year, the tournament was held in Meycauyan, Bulacan. The next three stagings were at the Quezon Memorial Circle.

“As long as I can, I will continue to help our cyclists. The Fil-Am Criterium Grand Prix is my little way of giving back to the sport,” said Blas, who broke the 1-km. national record in the UCI World Cup. He also eclipsed the national sprint record in the Asian Cycling Championships in Taiwan.

Blas was a silver medalist in the 1995 SEA Games in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He won the bronze in the 1-km. event and team pursuit in the 1997 SEAG in Jakarta, Indonesia. He also bagged the bronze in the team sprint and team pursuit in the 2001 SEAG in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.