World No. 3 pole vaulter EJ Obiena proved in the month of August his bronze medal finish in the world championships was no fluke with sensational victories in three marquee German tournaments.
These incredible feats were enough to merit Obiena top honors in the Philippine Sportswriters Association monthly evaluation of best performing Filipino athletes.
The 6’2” Obiena, who holds the Asian record of 5.94 meters, ruled the Internationales Stabhochsprung-Meeting in Jockgim with a leap of 5.81 meters last August 24.
He edged world No. 2 Chris Nilsen, who could only do 5.71 meters, and made the grade for an automatic slot in the world championships that Hungary is hosting in 2023.
A few days later in the city of Leverkusen, Obiena stamped his class anew by ruling the True Athletes Classics in Leverkusen with a 5.81 meter effort to beat Rutger Koppelar of the Netherlands and Kurtis Marschall of Australia via countback.
Just before the month ended, Obiena struck anew by registering 5.86 meters in the St. Wendel City Jump in Sankt Wendel.
The 5.86-meter leap was a new meet record as Obiena relegated Menno Vloon of the Netherlands and French rising star Anthony Ammirati to second and third, respectively.
Drowned by Obiena’s late-month brilliance was Gilas Pilipinas’ win over Saudi Arabia in the 2023 FIBA World Cup qualifying window game at the Mall of Asia Arena on 29 August.
Coming off a heartbreaking loss to Lebanon in Beirut a few days prior, Gilas, starring NBA star Jordan Clarkson, zoomed to an 84-46 win.