WINNER: Filipino-Spanish Fernando Jose Casares (center) wins the gold medal in the sprint men's elite category at the National Age Group Triathlon Series at the Subic Boardwalk on Sunday (Jan. 29, 2023). Also in photo (from left ) are Triathlon Association of the Philippines president Tom Carrasco, silver medalist Matthew Justine Hermosa and bronze medalist Andrew Kim Remolino. (Contributed photo).

OLONGAPO – Filipino-Spanish Fernando Jose Casares displayed his awesome form to claim victory in the sprint men's elite category of the National Age Group Triathlon (NGAT) Series at the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority on Sunday.

Casares, born in Madrid to a Spanish father and a Filipino mother, clocked 57 minutes and 16 seconds to prevail over Cebu City's Matthew Justine Hermosa (57:34) and Andrew Kim Remolino (59:12) in the swim (750m)-bike (20km)-run (5km) event.

"The competition was tough. My rivals are strong. But I am determined to win," said the 26-year-old Casares, who also ruled the same category at the National Duathlon Championships at the New Clark City Sports Complex in Capas, Tarlac last December.

Casares earned the standard distance swim (1.5km)-bike (40km)-run(10km) gold medal at the 2022 Vietnam SEA Games. He pocketed the mixed relay gold medal with Chicano, Kim Mangrobang and Clair Adorna at the 2019 Manila SEA Games.

Cebu City's Raven Faith Alcoseba topped the women's category in 1:04:36, beating Erika Nicole Burgos (1:08:03) and Karen Manayon (1:08:25).

Alcoseba, who hails from Talisay City, also won the sprint gold medal the duathlon competition in New Clark City last year.

Meanwhile, Dayshaun Ramos and Kira Ellis were crowned champions in the junior elite division of the tournament organized by the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) headed by Tom Carrasco Jr.

Ramos won the men's category in 1:01.56 while Akio Habana (1:03:43) and Aidanreed Mercado (1:03:51) finished second and third, respectively.

In the women's category, Ellis posted 1:05:51 to grab the gold medal. Gene Heart Quiambao (1:06:15) took the silver medal and Lady Samantha Jhunace Corpuz (1:07:18) settled for the bronze medal.

"This tournament is part of our national athletes' preparation for the Cambodia SEA Games in May," Carrasco said after the awarding ceremony.

Other tune-up events lined up for the team are the National Aquathlon Championships at Vermosa (Cavite) in March and the Subic International Triathlon in April. (PNA)