Hometown fave Tokong advances in 25th Siargao International Surfing

PH surfer John Mark Tokong. PHOTO/World Surf League

SIARGAO ISLAND, Surigao del Norte—Hometown favorite John Mark Tokong started strongly to make up for his scrambling finish to advance in the 25th Siargao International Surfing Cup  Tuesday at world-famous Cloud 9 here.

Cheered by a large crowd, the 23-year-old Tokong led in the halfway mark of Heat 3 but needed to repulse the challenge of heavy favorite Skip McCullough of the United States to salvage second place in this tournament which lured the world’s top surfers.

‘’I kept my composure,’’ said Tokong, nicknamed ‘’Marama’’ by his townmates in the charming town of General Luna where the highly-popular Cloud 9 is located.

Tokong, member of the Philippine surfing team to this year’s Southeast Asian Games, managed to score 12.75 points, while McCullough, who beat Tokong in last year’s final piled 12.10 points to settle for third spot.

Australian sensation Thomas Cervi took the top spot in the heat with 13.25 points. The top two finishers in each heat gained passage to the next round.

Tokong last won the Siargao International in 2015. To win it again, he needs to beat leading Indonesia surfer Oney Anwar in today’s Round of 16. Anwar beat Tokong in the Round of 32 of this event organized by Siargao Representative Bingo Matugas and the provincial government headed by Governor Francisco Matugas.

Others who advanced were Bronson Meydi of Indonesia, who will tackle Elliot Paerata-Reid of New Zealand; Hawaii’s Noah Beschan, who will test Australia’s Callum Robson; while Cervi faces an acid test against Tomas King.

The tournament is sanctioned by the World Surf League is also backed up by the Philippine Sports Commission and the Department of Tourism.

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