By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
THE PHILIPPINES continued to roll in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, breaching the 100-medal mark just four days into the competition.
Obstacle course racing, weightlifting and shooting delivered gold medals for the host country with silver and bronze medals coming in from lawn bowls, obstacle course racing, gymnastics and muay thai, as of this writing, to push the country’s total medal to 110 — 54 of which were gold.
The Philippine OCR team made a rousing debut by picking up two golds early on Wednesday in the 400-meter mixed team assist (Kyle Antolin, Kaizen dela Serna, Monolito Divina and Deanna Moncada) and mixed team relay (Diana Buhler, Jeffrey Reginio, Klymille Kim Rodriguez and Nathaniel Sanchez) in competitions held at the Filinvest City in Alabang, Muntinlupa.
The team then followed it up with 1-2 finish in the women’s individual 100m event with Rochelle Suarez (46.70) and Milky Mae Tejares (47.88) annexing the gold and silver medals, respectively.
In the men’s 100m event, Kevin Jeffrey Pascua seized the gold with a time of 29.92 seconds. Teammate Mark Julius Rodelas won the bronze.
In weightlifting, Kristel Macrohon gave the second gold from the sport by ruling the women’s 71-kg division at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila.
Twenty-three-year-old Macrohon followed up on the gold medal victory of Olympian Hidilyn Diaz on Monday, lifting 216 kg (93 kg in the snatch and 123 kg in the clean and jerk) to edge favorite Thi Van Nguyen, who had a total lift of 214 kg (92 kg in the snatch and 122 kg in the clean and jerk).
Indonesian Tsabitha Ramadan settled for the bronze medal with a total lift of 203 kg.
“I’m so overwhelmed. I didn’t expect this because the Vietnamese lifter is really the No. 1 in the division. I thought I could only win a silver. But Hidilyn inspired me to go for the gold,” a jubilant Ms. Macrohon said after her golden performance.
The country’s shooters, for their part, had a golden double with Marly Martir winning the women’s WA 15 Precision Pistol Course event and joining forces with Franchette Shayne Quiroz and Elvie Baldivino to top the women’s WA 1500 PPC Team event.
CUE ARTISTS OFF TO A GOOD START
Meanwhile, billiards players Rubilen Amit and Efren “Bata” Reyes made it a winning debut in this year’s edition of the SEA Games.
Ms. Amit bucked a slow start to edge Siripaporn Nuanthakhamjan of Thailand, 7-5, on Wednesday in the women’s 10-ball singles at the Manila Hotel Tent.
The multiple 8-ball and 9-ball SEA Games champion crawled out a 4-0 hole by winning the next three racks and sustained her momentum after a 5-all tie to advance to the semifinals.
Also advancing to the semifinals was billiards legend Reyes, who dominated Thailand’s Thongchai Punawee, 100 to 37, in the 1-cushion carom quarterfinals.
In men’s football, the Philippine Under-22 team bowed out of the tournament despite beating Timor Leste, 6-1, in its final game in group play at the Biñan Football Stadium in Laguna.
The win went for naught as Cambodia defeated Malaysia, 3-1, in the other Group A match, sending the former to the next round.
The Young Azkals were hoping to beat Timor Leste and for the Cambodia-Malaysia game to end in a draw to advance to the semifinals.
Stephan Schrock, Amani Aguinaldo (hat trick), Mar Diano and Dylan de Bruycker accounted for the goals of the Philippines against Timor Leste.
PHILIPPINES AS BEST SEA GAMES ORGANIZER
Took a lot of flak in the lead-up and early into the Games over what were deemed to be its shaky handling of its affairs, the Philippine Southeast Asia Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) got some form of “redemption” after its efforts were recognized at the recent Sports Industry Awards Asia for “organizing the best SEA Games.”
A sports business conference and awards platform, Sports Industry Awards (SPIA) Asia, held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig from Dec. 2 to 3, recognizes and celebrates Asia’s Top 10 in 25 distinct awards categories including the Asia’s Best Sportsman and Asia’s Best Sports Woman category, with Gold, Silver, and Bronze being awarded to the best performers.
SPIA CEO Eric Gottschalk personally handed the award to the PHISGOC Chairman Alan Peter Cayetano and PHISGOC Chief Operating Officer Ramon Suzara.