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1998 Tour ng Pilipinas
Day 3 April 17
Stage 2: Cebu-Cebu 135km
Davadilla wrests yellow jersey
By Frederick Nasiad, Contributing Editor
The Manila Times

CEBU City (Via PLDT)--A Philippine Malaysian rivalry is fast shaping up.

Yesterday, three Malaysians ganged up on Warren Davadilla, who lost the chance to claim a first place finish in the second stage of the 1998 Marlboro Centennial Tour ng Pilipinas here.

Davadilla eventually placed second to Malaysian Mohd Mahazir Hamad in the 133.9-Km. Cebu City-Argao-Cebu City stage but the spritely Philippine team domestic had a little grin tucked behind his face.

The 5'3" Davadilla maintained his strong and consistent pace and placed second for the second straight day, enough for him to take the yellow jersey from teammate Arnel Querimit, who was hounded no end by a sticky defensive riding stance by the rest of the riders.

The one-day leader Querimit finished 41st and in the middle of the pack four minutes and 54 seconds behind Hamad and dropped to third place behind Davadilla and Pangasinan's Gonzalo Espiritu in the overall standings. The Tour takes a one-day break today in preparation for the Luzon stages tomorrow.

"Okay lang sa akin iyon," said Querimit. "Kasama ko naman ang may hawak, eh. Pero pipilitin ko pa ring kunin iyon."

Querimit crossed the finish line along with favorites and defending champion Wong Kam Po and 1996 titlist Victor Espiritu, Nueva Ecija's Placido Valdez and Tang Xuehong of China among others.

The 23-year-old Davadilla kept a low key despite his finish. "Ewan ko lang kung mapupunta pa sa akin uli (yellow jersey) dahil tulad din naman kay Arnel na binantayan, siguradong babantayan din nila ako."

The Malaysians, who finished eighth last year, issued a strong statement as they finished first overall in the team standings and improved to second place behind the RP team, which finished only fourth place.

With three Malaysians in the eight-man lead group, Shahrul Neeza and Tsen Seong Hoong played domestic in the final 20 kms to key Mahazir's first place finish.

"Three-on-one ang nangyari, eh," said Davadilla, who tried to stick it out with the group despite being boxed out throughout the stage.

Hamad's finish hardly had an impact in the overall standings as he improved to 15th from 27th. Biggest recipient, however, was Tsen, who improved from sixth to fourth overall.

 The Manila Times 
For Complete Stage 5 results, click  STAGE 2 RESULTA Sugod Pilipino!