MANILA -- The gold medal from Gilas Pilipinas, which came after a rousing 115-81 win over Thailand in their men’s basketball championship match at the jampacked Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena here Tuesday evening, December 10, capped the Philippines’ historic top overall finish with a total of 149 golds, 117 silvers and 119 bronzes as of 6 a.m. yesterday in the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games that came to a festive close at the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac Wednesday, December 11.
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William “Butch” Ramirez, in a statement, lauded the Filipino athletes. “We were all hoping and praying for this, but it is still a sweet surprise that it is actually happening. I am so proud of our athletes. All of them deserve our respect and love,” he said.
Ramirez was also the PSC chairman and chef de mission when the country last hosted the biennial meet in 2005 wherein the hosts harvested a total of 112 golds, 85 silvers and 93 bronzes.
Dabawenyo Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, who chairs the Committee on Sports, in a separate statement via Viber, said, “Naging mataas ang morale ng buong Team Philippines dahil sa laki ng suporta ng gobyerno sa kanila, mula sa kanilang pag-eensayo, including their trainings abroad and hiring of foreign coaches. Ito ay upang masiguro natin ang kanilang international competitiveness.”
He earlier enjoined Filipinos to cheer for the athletes instead of applauding some setbacks in the hosting preparations.
Of the country’s medal haul, Davao region’s athletes contributed about seven gold medals, six silvers and six bronzes to help lift Philippines’ dominating victory in the biennial meet, smashing its 2005 overall harvest of 112 golds, 85 silvers and 93 bronzes.
Aiba Women’s World Boxing Championships 2019 gold medalist Nesthy Alcayde Petecio, who began her amateur boxing career in Davao City, captured her first SEA Games gold that evaded her eversince she became a national team member. The feat of the 27-year-old native of Barangay Tuban, Sta. Cruz in Davao del Sur came on the heels of avenging her 2013 SEA Games loss to Nwe Ni Oo of Myanmar in women’s boxing featherweight (57 kgs) finals via unanimous decision at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.
Rio Olympian and Incheon Asian Games silver medalist Charly Suarez, who hails from Sawata, San Isdiro in Davao del Norte, for his part, pocketed his fourth SEA Games gold by landing clear and solid punches against Thailand’s Khunatip Pidnuch whom he also beat through unanimous decision in their men’s boxing lightweight titular showdown.
SEA Games newbie Jezebel Morcillo, 24, of Davao City struck for gold in women’s arnis 50 kg live stick event, toppling Nguyen Thi Huong of Vietnam in the finals at the Angeles University Foundation in Angeles City, Pampanga.
Another SEA Games rookie 18-year-old Chino Tancontian, also of Davao City, bagged the men’s sambo 82 kg gold by subduing Singapore’s Gary Chow in the championship match at the Laus Group Events Center in San Fernando, Pampanga.
Filipino-Japanese Mariya Takahashi, 18, meanwhile, defended her women’s judo 70 kg gold at Laus Group Events Center. She first won the SEA Games gold in 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia when she was only 16. Her mother Lynlyn’s birthplace is Maragusan, Compostela Valley (now Davao de Oro) while father Tomoki is from Japan.
But Takahashi, born in Japan, spent her first and second grades in Panabo City where they also resided for a few years before settling for good in her father’s home.
She added a bronze in women’s judo team category.
Winning team golds were Dabawenyos Mark Anthony Alcoseba of men’s soft tennis; and Nathaniel Sanchez and Klymille Keilah Rodriguez in mixed team relay obstacle course racing event, whose quartet with Diana Buhler and Jeffrey Reginio, registered a new world record in the 400m relay obstacle course racing with 1:59.56.
The silver medalists include Jenilou Mosqueda (women’s kurash), Marjon Pianar (men’s boxing welterweight), Marc Alexander Lim (men’s jiu jitsu 69 kg), Agot Danton (women’s rugby), Francis Phillip Saura (men’s volleyball) and Mummar Alamara-Shaka Abnel Tawasil (men’s water polo).
Carl Dave Aseneta of Davao City annexed a men’s judo 90 kg bronze and took another bronze with Dabawenyo teammate Jackielou Escarpe and other national judokas in men’s judo team.
Davao City’s Labuan BIMP-Eaga Friendship Games double gold medalist Sonny Wagdos, a former University of Mindanao runner from Prosperidad in Agusan del Sur, salvaged a bronze in men’s 5,000-meter run while Mary Pauline Fornea helped win a bronze in mixed duathlon relay and Sydney Tancontian copped a women’s kurash bronze.