Cebuano athletes soar high in 30th SEA Games

June Mar Fajardo raises the Philippine flag after leading the men’s basketball to a gold medal finish at the Mall of Asia Arena. Fajardo and Greg Slaughter were the last Cebuano athletes to win a gold medal in the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. (SunStar foto/ Richiel S. Chavez)

CEBU’s athletes came up with a performance to remember and helped the Philippines accomplish its mission — to win the overall championship — in the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

Cebuanos and athletes with roots from the Queen City of the South racked up a total of 19 gold medals, 17 silvers and 22 bronzes as Team Philippines closed out the 11-nation sporting conclave in historic fashion with 149 gold medals, 117 silvers and 119 bronzes on Wednesday, December 11, 2019.

Cebuano giants June Mar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter capped off the Cebuanos gold medal rush when Team PHL demolished Thailand, 115-81, in the men’s basketball gold medal match at the Mall of Asia Arena on Tuesday night, December 10.

Former University of Cebu stalwart and five-time MVP Fajardo scored 17 points and added 13 boards to lead Team Philippines to its 18th men’s basketball title before the 12,462 paying fans in Mall of Asia Arena.

“This is a special win for the team. For me it’s also memorable since it’s my first SEA Games gold medal,” the Pinamungajan, Cebu native said after the game.

Cue artist Rubilen Amit won her second gold medal with partner Chezka Centeno in the women’s 9-ball doubles via 7-0 blanking of Indonesia. Her first gold came from the women’s 9-ball singles.

In the first day of competition, the duo of Wilbert Aunzo and Pearl Marie Cañeda sparked Cebu’s medal surge coming up with three gold medals in the debutant dancesports competition at the Royce Hotel in Clark, Pampanga.

Margielyn Didal was Cebu’s double gold medalist as she collected gold medals in the women’s Game of Skate and street skate, while fellow Fil-German Daniel Ledermann, who traces his roots in Barili, bagged a gold medal in the men’s Game of Skate.

James Deiparine, who ended the country’s 10-year gold medal drought in swimming after winning a gold medal in the men’s 100-meter breaststroke, also traces his roots from Cebu.

The same can be said of Ohio-based pole vault gold medalist Natalie Uy, whose father was from Cebu.

Cebu was not to be outdone in other sports as gymnasts Daniela Reggie de la Pisa handed a gold medal in rhythmic gymnastics, Fil-Japanese Kiyomi Watanabe extender her SEA Games reign in judo and Asian gold medalist Lois Kaye Go and partner Bianca Pagdanganan topped the women’s team matchplay.

In the group event, Adroit bagged a gold medal in Dota II event of eSports, Metudio Suico and Jean Marie Sucalit were part of the sepak takraw gold medal team and Cebuano battlers in the Philippines baseball team.

The athletes’ hard work will be rewarded with incentives from both national and local government.

Republic Act 10699 provides cash incentives for winners of the SEA Games to receive P300,000, P150,000 and P60,000 for gold, silver and bronze finishes.

President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to give out additional incentives of P250,000 for gold, P150,000 for silver and P100,000 for bronze.

For Cebu City athletes, the local government will shell out P100,000 for gold, P50,000 for silver and P25,000 for bronze.

Vietnam finished second overall with a gold- silver-bronze tally of 98-85-104 and Thailand occupied the third spot with 92-103-123 harvest.

Indonesia (72-84-111) took fourth place and Malaysia (55-58-72) finished at fifth place.

This was the second overall championship for the Philippines following the 2005 triumph.

“We were all hoping and praying for this, but it is still a sweet surprise now that it’s actually happening. I am so proud of our athletes.

All of them deserve our respect and love,” said team PHL chef de mission William “Butch” Ramirez.

The win came in record-breaking fashion as it surpassed the 2005’s haul of 112-85-93. (SunStar Cebu)


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