On the podium from left to right: Ronald Oranza, Jan Paul Morales and Marcelo Felipe. June Navarro/INQUIRER
There’s no hint that Jan Paul Morales of Standard Insurance would slow down anytime soon.
After capturing his second consecutive Ronda Pilipinas individual plum plus a couple of competitive local races last year, Morales ruled the men’s elite road race of the PRU Ride Philippine National Cycling Championships over the weekend in Subic and Bataan.
Morales beat fellow Standard Insurance rider Ronald Oranza at the line in three hours, 42 minutes and 55 seconds after the punishing uphill route covering 137 kilometers.
Marcelo Felipe of 7Eleven Cliqq Road Bike Philippines placed third in the race where the winner earned an all-expenses paid trip in the PRU Ride in London in July plus P50,000 in cash prize.
Aside from Morales, businessman-sportsman and Standard Insurance chairman Ernesto “Judes” Echauz has also produced a pair of local champions in top-caliber runner Joey delos Reyes in duathlon and long-distance triathlon champion Monica Torres last year.
It was also dominating performance last year for the 31-year-old Morales, who ruled the Ontario California Criterium Race in the United States, while emerging champion in the elite division of the 3rd Road Bike Philippines Sual Cycling Challenge in Pangasinan in May.
“I can never accomplish these victories without the full support of our sponsor and my teammates,” said Morales, who is aiming for a third straight Ronda Pilipinas title this March.
With Morales, Oranza and Rudy Roque at the helm, the Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance cycling team had won the Ronda Pilipinas overall individual and team championships four years in a row.
On the other hand, Torres, a perennial top local finisher in the Ironman 70.3 Philippines, is a long-time triathlete and duathlon star in the Standard Insurance stable, according to Echauz.
“Because of her winnings both locally and internationally in the long distance events that she joins, she has also been regularly recognized by sports media organizations,” said Echauz.
Torres topped the Powerman Asia Duathlon Championships—Malaysia 2017, last March.
Emmanuel Commendador and Torres, both from the Philippines, dominated the top podium spots for the male and female elite category with a time of 02:48:36 and 03:04:11, respectively.
She also won the Tri-Sports 51.5 held in Ilocos Norte, also last March and grabbed the podium in the inaugural MusaMan Trt-DavNor 2017, a standard distance triathlon hosted by the provincial government of Davao de Norte, last June.