Six Filipino kickboxers will be looking to give the Philippines a gold rush as they vie for gold medals in the finals of the 31st Southeast Asian Games kickboxing tourney on Friday at the Bac Ninh Gymnasium in Hanoi.

Leading the charge are Jean Claude Saclag and Gina Iniong Araos. Saclag, the reigning champion in the men’s low kick 63.5kg class, takes on Chaleamlap Santidongsakun of Thailand while Araos, also the defending champion, clashes with yet another Thai fighter, Waraporn Jaiteang, in the women’s low kick minus 60kg class.

Also eying gold are Renalyn Dacquel who is up against hometown bet Thi Hang Nga Nguyen in the women’s minus 48kg full contact category; Gretel De Paz who will battle Indonesian Pieter Ariesta in the women’s full contact minus 56kg division; Zeph Ngaya who takes on Vietnamese Huynh Thi Kim Vang in the women’s minus 65kg full contact finale; and Claudine Veloso who clashes with Amanda Loupatty of Indonesia in the women’s minus 52kg low kick division.

Samahang Kickboxing ng Pilipinas (SKP) Secretary-General Atty. Wharton Chan believes the country can achieve more than what they did during the 2019 SEA Games where they hauled in three gold medals, two silvers, and a bronze.

“Our athletes have done a tremendous performance and exceptional job despite fighting in a hostile terrain after beating several Vietnamese athletes,” Chan said. “I predict we can be at 80 percent or 5-of-6 or maybe 4-of-6 in winning golds in tomorrow's finals. We can surpass the three golds last time.”

Whatever happens in the finals, the Philippines is assured of bringing home eight medals, counting the bronze medals won by Honorio Banario and Emmanuel Cantores, who suffered 0-3 defeats in the semis.

Banario lost to Cambodia’s Lvay Chhoeung in the men’s semifinals of the minus 71kg low kick event while Cantores bowed to Nguyen Quang Huy of host Vietnam in the men’s semifinals of the minus 60kg low kick event. (JNP)