Rotorua's Sam Osborne battled the Philippine heat and a tyre puncture to finish second at Xterra Danao.
He was less than a minute behind South African Xterra World Champion Bradley Weiss, who beat him at the same event last year.
Osborne led Weiss out of the water, bus disaster struck on the bike.
"I felt really good in the race, had good feeling in the swim and some great legs on the bike, but luck wasn't entirely on my side. I punctured at the end of the first lap on the bike - I was fortunate enough to get it fixed fairly quickly but I lost all of the lead and had to ride back across to Brad.
"I closed the gap but you don't ride across a 15-second gap to the world champ on one hill without burning some matches.
"The run was hot as all hell. I went through a really bad patch 4km in where I really struggled to get myself to stay cool enough and that was the moment the gap opened between us."
Osborne said going head-to-head with Weiss always brought out the best in him.
"It was very close the whole way. We rode the second lap of the bike neck and neck, trading blows for a good part of it, but I couldn't get anything to stick and Brad never managed to get anything on me.
"The run went much the same. We exited transition together and entered into the same game, trading surges, but it ended up being me who started to overheat first and that ended up being the race winning move.
"When you are going blow for blow there's always someone who's going to crack. Today it was me, next time it needs to be him."
Osborne's next Xterra event is in Tahiti on May 11.