MANILA -- This time around, last SEA Games' "heartbreak kid' Carlo Paalam refused to say goodbye from the medal podium's highest form of valor.
The 21-year-old Paalam of Cagayan de Oro on Monday, December 9, did not only avenge his shocking loss two years ago in Kuala Lumpur, but finally nailed the elusive gold he aspired in the 30th edition of the Southeast Asian Games.
Facing Kornelis Kwangu Langu of Indonesia in men's light flyweight final, Paalam fought cautiously relying more on counter attacks en route to scoring a unanimous 5-O win for the gold.
"Hindi nasayang ang three-month hard-nosed preparation namin ni Carlo...dominadong dominado n'ya ang laban na yon," said Paalam's coach and trainer Elmer Pamisa.
A bit shorter than him, Langu was the aggressor right from the start, charging on the Filipino like he badly needs a knockout. But everytime he lunged in for the kill, the Indonesian got caught in a 1-2 combo of left and right straight and occasional uppercut. To the home fans' great surprise, Langu was so sturdy he did not back down and continued to exchange wild punches until the end.
"Naminaw lang gyod ko sa instruction ni coach (Pamisa). Lig-on nga kontra si Langu busa importante makapuntos," said Paalam, a proud son of Talakag, Bukidnon who grew up and raised in boxing as a teener in Cagayan de Oro.
Paalam also wiped out Mohammad Redzuan of Malaysian in the semifinals with the same output, 5-0, which saw the former raging like a wounded Tiger, giving his erstwhile tormentor in the 2017 SEAG no room to breath.
"Klaro kaayo nga na hometown decision si Carlo sa ilang unang away sa Kuala Lumpur. Mag gold unta siya adto nga time. But his clear victory today washes out all the pains we can now move on," Pamisa told SunStar Cagayan de Oro.