After a virtual gold rush the previous day, the Philippine team almost came up emptyhanded in the gold medal tally on the sixth day of competition in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia.
Only the efforts of rower Nestor Cordova prevented the shutout for Filipino athletes, after the Murcia, Negros Occidental clocked in at 07:18.810 in the men’s singles sculls event, ahead of Thailand’s Chaichana Thakum (07:21.660) and Myanmar’s Aung Ko Min (07:25.320).
The mohawked Cordova won the medal <a href=”http://www.interaksyon.com/interaktv/new-blood-bolsters-pinoy-sea-games-rowers”>after taking over teammate Benjie Tolentino</a>, the veteran campaigner who won gold medals in the 2005 and 2007 editions of the games. Cordova, a Philippine Navy officer, took the lead midway through the 2,000-meter race en route to the victory.
But the team of Alvin Amposta and Edgar Ilas wasn’t as lucky, finishing at 6:49.5 for a bronze medal behind Thailand (6:45.3) and Indonesia (6:48.2) in the light doubles event.
The rest of the day was marked by almost-but-not-quite performances for Pinoy competitors.
Filipino archers Jennifer Chan and Earl Yap each settled for silver medals in their individual compound events. Chan actually tied Myanmar’s Aung Ngeain in the final round, 139-all, but lost in a shoot-off, while Yap lost to Indonesia’ IGP Purugito, 144-141.
John Paul Gomez and Darwin Laylo won a silver and a bronze, respectively, in the men’s blindfold chess pairings event, behind Vietnam’s Le Quang Liem. The mixed pair of Oliver Barbosa and Catherine Perena, meanwhile, finished with a silver in the standard chess event behind Vietnam.
Eric Panique and Eduardo Buenavista clocked in at 02:28.26 and 02:29.09, respectively, in the marathon to finish in the podium behind Indonesia’s Yahuza (02:27.45).
Francisco dela Cruz and the legendary Efren “Bata” Reyes continued the day’s trend of 2-3 finished for Filipino competitors in the individual carom cushion event. Both men were both knocked out by the gold medal winner, Ma Minh Cam of Vietnam.
Biboy River and Frederick Ong missed a gold medal as well, finishing with 2490 pins behind Malaysian team’s 2555 to settle for a silver.
The female saber team of Jylyn Nicanor, Lenny Otadoy, and Michelle Brozula finished with a bronze after losing to Indonesia, 45-25, in the semifinals of the event.
Tankers were also able to salvage a couple of bronzes for the day, with backstroke specialist Dorothy Grace Hong winning her fourth medal of the competition in the 100m race. The men’s 4×200 freestyle team of Paolo Arabejo, Jose Joaquin Gonzales, Jessie Khing Lacuna, and Dhill Anderson Lee also won their second bronze of the games.
The day’s haul left the Philippines still at a lowly sixth place in the medal standings with 15 golds, 28 silvers, and 34 bronzes. Host Indonesia still dominates the field with 87 golds, 65 silvers, and 70 bronzes. Vietnam (54-55-59) managed to wrest second place, followed by Thailand (52-41-59) which fell to third. Neighbors Singapore (29-32-46) and Malaysia (28-25-44) are locked in a battle for fourth place.
But it wasn’t all bad news for Team Philippines, as athletes in various team sports fared well. Sinag Pilipinas crushed Thailand, 103-69, while its female counterpart Discovery Perlas outfoxed Myanmar, 57-39.
Softball’s Blu Boys and Blu Girls won their assignments, both against Indonesia, to bolster their chances for a gold in their respective tournaments.
In women’s 9-Ball billiards, meanwhile, Rubilen Amit and 8-Ball gold medalist Iris Ranola stamped their class in the quarterfinals. Amit defeated Thailand’s Amornrat Uamduang, 7-0, while Ranola beat Chonticha Chitchom, also of Thailand.