Com­fort­able lead for Team Philip­pines

The Freeman - - FRONT PAGE -

Golds came in drips Mon­day for Team Philip­pines af­ter a swash­buck­ling 22-medal haul in Day One of the 30th South­east Asian Games but the im­pact of its 16-gold ef­fort proved as sig­nif­i­cant as it fea­tured two pre­cious ones clutched from the very sport dear­est to the Filipinos.

Afril Bernardino, Janine Pon­te­jos, Clare Cas­tro and Jack An­i­mam hung tough in the clutch to get back at the Thais, 17-13, and snare the women’s 3x3 gold while CJ Perez, Chris New­some, Mo Tau­taa and Ja­son Perkins dom­i­nated the In­done­sians, 21-9, to com­plete their un­beaten run in the in­au­gu­ral stag­ing of the event to the de­light of the big crowd at the Filoil Fly­ing V Arena in San Juan.

Two more cage golds are com­ing up, in the 5x5, which starts tomorrow with the all-pro squad fac­ing Sin­ga­pore at 8 p.m. at the MOA Arena.

But al­ready here in the Games’ midst is Typhoon Kam­muri (Tisoy), which has forced or­ga­niz­ers to can­cel a num­ber of wa­ter sports with more games still to be dis­rupted in a rainy Day 3 of the 12-day com­pe­ti­tion fea­tur­ing the re­gion’s best and the bright­est.

They in­clude Olympic sil­ver medal­ist Hidi­lyn Diaz, who fi­nally ended a long quest for a SEAG weightlift­ing gold af­ter top­ping the 55kg divi­sion, best­ing Viet­nam’s Nguyen Thi Thuy and Klar­isa Ju­liana of In­done­sia, who took the sil­ver and bronze medals, re­spec­tively.

“I was so ner­vous, pres­sured. But I just told my­self that I’m do­ing this for the team, for the coun­try and for God,” said Diaz, who could only dish out a pair of sil­vers (2011 and 2013) and a bronze (2007) in her pre­vi­ous SEAG cam­paigns. She lifted a com­bined 211kg in snatch (91) and the clean-and-jerk (120) at the packed Ni­noy Aquino Sta­dium.

“I thank you for com­ing over and sup­port­ing me,” said the Zamboanga City ace in ac­knowl­edg­ing the cheers of the crowd the way they backed Car­los Yulo’s gold medal romp in Mon­day’s artis­tic gym­nas­tics all-around event.

Count­ing its six sil­vers and one bronze, the Philip­pines hiked its medal tally to 38-20-13 (gold-sil­ver-bronze) as of 7:30 p.m. yes­ter­day, keep­ing its 12-gold lead over Viet­nam (15-2016) with Malaysia mov­ing from fourth to third with 10-2-7 and In­done­sia im­prov­ing from fifth to fourth with 6-11-12.

Thai­land, which ruled the last two SEAG edi­tions in over­power fash­ions, slipped from third to fifth with 6-9-16 fol­lowed by Sin­ga­pore (3-7-7), Cam­bo­dia (1-3-13), Brunei (1-3-3), Myan­mar (0-5-14) and Laos (0-0-2) and Ti­mor Leste still without a medal of any color.

PHILIP­PINE STAR PHOTO

Wil­bert Aunzo plants a kiss on part­ner Pearl Marie Caneda at the podium af­ter the Ce­buano ath­letes pro­duced three gold medals for the Philip­pines in dance­s­port event of the 30th SEA Games the other day. Aunzo and Caneda ruled all Latin dances in chachacha, samba and rhumba en route to a golden tre­ble.

Hidi­lyn Diaz copped her first ever gold medal in the South­east Asian Games af­ter dom­i­nat­ing the women’s 55kg weightlift­ing con­test on Mon­day. PHILIP­PINE STAR PHOTO

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