Showing no signs of slowing down even after it clinched the overall championship of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, the Philippines achieved another historic first when it breached the 300th-medal mark in the biennial meet.
The Philippines’ 300th medal—a silver—came from Jenna Kaila Napolis in the 49-kg category of jiujitsu at the Laus Convention Center in Clark on Monday.
Napolis bowed to Indonesian Jessa Khan, who won by advantages after a 2-2 standoff.
With a 135-101-105 gold-silver-bronze tally (341 medals in all) going into the final two days of the games, the hosts have remained firmly planted at the top, with Thailand a far second (79-90-101). Indonesia, Indonesia, and Singapore round out the top five.
The most medals that the Philippines was able to garner in the games was at 290 during the “Miracle of 2005,” when it won the overall games’ championship for the first time with a haul of 112-85-93. Filipinos had 239 medals during their second hosting of the biennial meet in 1991 when they had 91-62-86 – good for second place.
Monday’s assault on the record books were led by world champion Nesthy Petecio, Charly Suarez and Felix Eumir Marcial, who saved the best for last as they electrified the crowd with their exemplary performances that highlighted a bountiful seven-gold harvest for Team Philippines in the boxing competitions at the PICC Tent.
Suarez landed with the more solid hits and counter-punches to post a 5-0 unanimous decision victory over Pidnuch Khunatip of Thailand in the men’s lightweight 60kg final to mark the first of the last three final bouts for the evening.
Petecio also displayed a similar dominant performance by putting away her Myanmarese foe Oo New Ni of Vietnam, 5-0, to add another gold in the women’s featherweight 57kg, before Marcial got the crowd back on its feet by knocking out Nguyen mang Cuong of Vietnam in 1:11 of the first round in the men’s middleweight (75kg) final to cap the hosts’ explosive campaign in the biennial event.
“I wasn’t expecting the bout would end right away,” Marcial said in Filipino.
“I did not expect the fight to be over that quick,” Marcial said in Filipino. “Knockouts can happen, but when I saw that I can take my opponent, I went for the kill.”
Carlo Paalam started the ball rolling for the boxers by hammering a 5-0 rout of Indonesia’s Langu Kornelis Keanu of Indonesia in the Men’s Light Flyweight Finals.
Other gold medalists from boxing were light-welterweight James Palicte, light flyweight Josie Gabuco, and flyweight Rogen Ladon.
Even athletics was not about to slow down.
Clinton Kingsley Bautista wowed a big hometown crowd that came to cheer for him as he and Melvin Calano unexpectedly delivered two gold medals for the Philippines on Day 4 of the athletics meet.
The 27-year-old Bautista leaned his head forward when he crossed the finish line together with Rayzam Wan Sofian of Malaysia as they submitted a similar time of 13.97 seconds in the men’s 110-meter hurdles finals at the New Clark City stadium here.
Bautista, who hails from Camiling, Tarlac, benefitted from his move, as this earned him the gold medal during his closely-fought encounter with Sofian, who settled for the silver.
It was the first time that Bautista has gone below 14 seconds as he bettered his 14.06 seconds during the Asian Championships in Doha, Qatar last April.
“I didn’t expect this,” he said in Filipino. “But coach and I set a target for 13 seconds.” Bautista is coached by Dario Darosas.
This put Bautista closer to the national record of 13.91 seconds, which Patrick Unso clocked during the 2017 Thailand Open.
Meanwhile, Calano heaved 72.86 meters to claim the men’s javelin throw gold. This was an improvement from the 65.94 meters which earned him the bronze in the 2017 edition of the games.
Abdul Hafiz of Indonesian settled for the silver again at 71 meters, his effort higher than the 69.3 meters he made two years ago.
Other gold-medal winners for the Philippines on Monday were windsurfers Geylord Coveta and Yancy Kaibigan, jiujitsu practitioners Dean Michael Roxas (85 kgs), Maggie Ochoa (45 kgs) and Carlo Angelo Pena (56 kgs), karateka Jamie Christine Lim (61-kg kumite), husband-and-wife pair of Paul Marton and Rachelle Anne Dela Cruz in archery, heptathlete Sarah Dequinan, Graeco Romas wrestlers Jason Baucas (72 kgs) and Noel Norada (63 kgs).
Late Sunday night, Filipino representatives in Mobile Legends: Bang Bang clinched the gold medal against Indonesia, 3-2, in the inaugural staging of eSports at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan City.
Dubbed Team Sibol, the local bets, trailed early in the best-of-five series 1-2 but fought back to stun the Indonesian team that has veterans from the world championship of the popular mobile game last month.
Led by Karl Gabriel “KarlTzy” Nepomuceno and his hero Esmeralda, the locals held their ground in the thrilling fourth game, setting the stage for what everybody thought would be a down-the-wire battle in fifth.
But the Filipinos surged to a 9-1 edge early on and clinched the gold in 15 minutes.
On Tuesday, the Philippines shoots for the volleyball crown when it plays Indonesia in the finals at 6 p.m. at the Philsports Arena.
The Philippines has never beat Thailand in men’s volleyball in the games, much less make the finals in the last 42 years.
However, the men’s volleyball squad accomplished what was billed as a next-to-impossible goal–dethrone the Thais in five grueling, tension-filled sets, 17-25, 25-20, 23-25, 27-25, 17-15, in their semifinal match on Sunday to reach the finals for the first time in a long, long while.
And in today’s finals, Indonesia stands in the way of the Filipinos’ ultimate wish list, which is to be finally crowned champions in the regional meet after decades of futility.
“I’m happy, I can’t explain what I’m feeling right now,” Philippines head coach Dante Alinsunurin later said in Filipino.