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Oranza’s next goal: Win SEA Games gold

By Jerome Lagunzad

After living up to his lofty billing as one of the country’s finest cyclists by conquering the 2018 Ronda Pilipinas title in dominant fashion, national team standout Ronald Oranza is keen on doing the same but on the bigger and tougher level this time.

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This early, Oranza, 25, is already bracing himself for what could be the biggest yet fulfilling challenge if and when he gets called up to carry the country’s tri-colors anew in next year’s Southeast Asian Games which will be hosted in Manila.

“Nakuha ko na ‘yung minimithi ko dito sa Ronda. Next year, mas pagbubutihin ko pa. Kung paglalaruin kami para sa Philippine team, maglalaro po ako,” said the Villasis, Pangasinan pride while basking in the glow of his first major title since joining the elite road races in 2011.

Back in the 2013 SEA Games edition held in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, Oranza made his breakthrough podium finish by claiming the bronze medal in the men’s 50-kilometer individual time trial ruled by compatriot Mark Galedo, the 2012 Ronda titleholder.

If things fall according to plan, Oranza will banner what could be one of the most formidable PH cycling teams ever formed with the presence of two-time Ronda champion and fellow Navyman Jan Paul Morales, George Oconer and Jonel Carcueva.

For now, the third-year Private First Class is keen on sharing the top purse of R1million in cash plus P300,000 worth of Boy Kanin franchise with his fellow Navymen who asserted their full dominance in the country’s biggest race anew.

“Hindi naman totally sa akin ‘yun. Hahatian ko rin ang mga teammates ko,” said a humbled Oranza, adding he plans to buy another land lot in his hometown. “Lahat naman ng pinanalunan ko pinupundar ko agad. Hindi naman kasi tayo laging malakas.”

That should be a good music to the ears of his fellow Navymen, including Morales, 32, who claimed the Sprint King title and diminutive Junrey Navara who emerged as the King of the Mountain winner.

“Masaya ako kasi nasa amin pa rin ang team champion pati ‘yung individual title,” said Morales, adding he feels that they truly are the finest team in the land right now.

“Kasi nasa amin ‘yung suporta, may magandang allowance. Halos lahat binibigay sa amin. Sa kampo, hindi naman kami pinababayaaan ng mga opisyales namin. Kaya talagang ganado kami lagi na mag-perform ng maayos.”

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