Pinoy athletes sustain fiery showing, pull away from the field.
ON A day when Typhoon Tisoy was fast approaching, Team Philippines yesterday got too busy again plucking one gold medal after another to easily surpass its previous total and pull away from the field in the overall standings of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
In every venue where these were gold medals to fight for, Filipino athletes were right there in the thick of the fight, looming large and eventually emerging triumphant to the joy of a nation bracing itself from the coming of a strong typhoon.
After the dancesport squad waltzed its way to a whopping 10-gold haul in the sport’s return after a long absence, it was the turn of the basketball, arnis, cycling and triathlon teams to take over and provide victories in bulk as Team Ph threatened to make the 11-nation, 12-day event into nothing but a fight for runnerup honors.
As of presstime, Team Ph has won nine gold medals for the day as it continued its resurgence after woeful showings in the last four stagings of the region’s biggest sporting showpiece.
In 3x3 basketball competitions, Gilas Pilipinas could not do anything wrong.
The Filipinos, starring CJ Perez and Moala Tautuaa, routed Indonesia, 21-9, to win the gold unbeaten, while the women’s squad reserved its best for last to down Thailand, 17-13 as the two squads earned bragging rights as the first ever SEA Games champs in the sport.
It was Afril Bernardino who saved the day for the women’s trio. She scored 10 points in the vengeful win that came a few hours after the Filipinas had taken a 20-22 defeat at the hands of the Thais in the prelims.
Bernardino and teammates Jack Animam, Janine Pontejos and Clare Castro showed up in the finals with revenge in their eyes.
And they did it with flying colors.
The ‘arnisadors’ added another three golds to go with their initial haul of five wins on a Sunday to remember, staying on track to become one of the most productive local squads in this showpiece where the indigenous sport is making a comeback after 12 years.
Elmer Manlapaz kicked off the victory run, ruling the men’s padded stick in the featherweight division at the Angeles University Foundation in Angeles City, before Jesfer Huquire (bantamweight) and Carloyd Tejada (welterweight) joined the gold medal column by striking in the men’s padded stick.
Those arnis victories were enough for Team Ph to surpass its shameful 24-gold output two years ago in Kuala Lumpur, when it languished in sixth place in a continued fall from grace after winning the biennial meet in 2005.
Over at the Subic Bay Boardwalk, Monica Torres ruled the women’s duathlon, easily beating her Thai and Vietnamese rivals with a time of 2 hours, 8 minutes and 44 seconds as the host nation continued to overpower the opposition at the Subic Bay Boardwalk.
The triathlon bets went 3-for-3 after the Filipino quartet of John Chicano, Kim Mangrobang, Jose Casares and Claire Adorna won the Mixed Relay event in easy fashion as darkness was falling to complete another masterful showing for the second straight SEA Games.
“Ito po ay different kind of feeling for me, kasi po it’s Team Philipines,” said Torres.
On Sunday, Team Ph completed a 1-2 finish in both divisions of triathlon as it kicked off what would become a productive day for Team PH, which won 23 gold medals, 10 of them coming in dancesport.
The cycling team did its share yesterday.
John Derick Farr and Lea Denise Belgira won the gold in the men’s and women’s divisions, respectively, of the downhill mountain biking on a cloudy day over in Barangay Niyugan, Laurel, Batangas as the cycling team rebounded after going winless on Monday.
Farr crossed the finish line with a time of 2 minutes, 41.143 seconds, to beat compatriot Eleazar Barba in a thrilling finish that had the crowd spell-bound, while Belgira clocked 3:09.781 as she overpowered Indonesian Tisra Prastika.
As of 5 p.m.yesterday, Team Philippines has made a staggering haul of 32 gold, 16 silver and 9 bronze medals, well ahead of Vietnam which has a 10-13-12 total barely two days into the meet.
The host country continued to assert its dominance in both divisions of softball, where winning the titles is practically out of the question, given the pedigree of the Blu Boys and the Blu Girls.
And the two teams quickly showed what to expect from them as the Blu Boys blanked Thailand, 12-0, in an abbreviated five-inning game while the Blu Girls were just as dominant, plastering Singapore 6-0.
Showing in other fronts was as bad as the weather.
The tandem of Denise Dy and Treat Conrad Heuy lost to top seed Aldila Sutjuadi and Christopher Rungkat of Indonesia, 6-7, 6-3, 13-11, in a closely-contested mixed doubles match in tennis.
In ladies singles, Clarice Patrimonio took a 12-6, 2-6 loss to Savanna Ly Nguyen of Vietnam while Alberto Lim saved some measure of pride for the host tennisters by beating Singapore’s Muhammad Alam, 7-6, 6-4, in men’s singles.
As ‘Tisoy’ closed in, organizers have rescheduled some events including those in canoe, kayak and windsurfing after storm signals were raised in different parts of Luzon, including several tournament venues.