Pinoy Olympians, dancers, cue artists dominate; Filipinas get rare football medal; Indonesia, Thailand new basketball powers
The Philippine national team won 52 gold medals, 70 silver medals, and 104 bronze medal and landed at fourth place overall at the end of the pandemic-delayed 2021 Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi on Monday.
Host country Vietnam dominated the biennial meet with 205 gold medals, shattering the record 194 gold medals of Indonesia in 1997. The socialist country has also won 125 silver medals and 116 bronze medals.
Thailand is the bridesmaid with 92 gold medals and Indonesia is at third place with 69 gold medals.
Singapore trailed the Philippines with 47 gold medals for fifth place while Malaysia had its weakest performance to date with 39 gold medals.
Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Brunei, and Timor-Leste occupied seventh to eleventh places, respectively.
The Philippines’ performance was a far cry from the 149 gold medals won in Manila in 2019.
The Filipinos hauled golds in martial arts, cue sports, and from their Tokyo Olympians.
Tokyo veteran gymnast Carlos Yulo was the most bemedalled Pinoy with five gold medals and two silver medals, helping the Philippines match Vietnam’s gold medal output at seven.
Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz took things lightly in the women’s 55 kg. weightlifting competition, lifting 206 kilograms—a far cry from her Olympic record of 224 kilograms.
Teenager Vanessa Sarno was a breath of fresh air in the 71 kg. category as the reigning Asian champion lifted a SEA Games and national record of 239 kilograms.
Controversial pole vaulter EJ Obiena also took things casually yet finished with a new SEA Games record of 5.46 meters, which was far from his personal best 5.93 meters.
2016 Olympian Eric Cray also won a gold medal—his seventh overall in the SEA Games—finishing the men’s 400 meter hurdle race at 50.41 seconds.
Tokyo bronze medalist Eumir Marcial stamped his Olympic class, winning against Timor-Leste’s Dello Mouzinho via unanimous decision in the men’s middleweight boxing gold medal match.
Olympic silver medalist Nesthy Petecio though settled for the bronze medal in the women’s lightweight division while fellow Olympic silver medalist Carlo Paalam was a scratch in men’s flyweight, which was won by 2016 Olympian Rogen Ladon.
The Philippines swept all pool events in cue sports as Rubilen Amit won two gold medals and has surpassed Singapore’s Peter Gilchrist as the most bemedalled cue artist in SEA Games history with 10 gold medals overall.
Likewise, Filipinos once again led in dancesport with five gold medals, five silver medals, and two bronze medals where the pair of Sean Aranar and Ana Nualla dominated.
The Philippines dominated triathlon events with three gold medals, with Kim Mangrobang winning in women’s triathlon and duathlon.
The Philippine medal count got a boost from the 18 gold medals won in all combat sport events.
Treat Huey and and Ruben Gonzales, both 36 years old, defied father time by winning gold in men’s double tennis while popular teenage pro Alex Eala won three bronze medals on her SEA Games debut.
World Cup-bound Philippine women’s national football team also made a remarkable achievement, winning the country’s second medal in SEA Games football and the first since 1985.
The Filipinas made their revenge against Myanmar and won the battle for bronze last Saturday, 2-1.
After conceding a penalty in the first half, Japan pros Sarina Bolden and Quinley Quezada goaled at the 73rd and 76th minutes, respectively.
Quezada ended the tournament as the Filipinas’ all-time leading goal scorer with 15, surpassing center back Hali Long.
The biggest letdown for Team Philippines was in basketball as for the first time since 1989, the all-pro Philippine men’s basketball team lost the gold medal and settled for silver, losing to Indonesia, 81-85, yesterday.
Thailand swept the 3×3 events while the Philippines’ lone basketball gold came from the women’s team that finished the tournament with four wins and one loss.
The Philippines’ dismal performance in SEA Games basketball drew the ire of several sports aficionados, as the Philippines is regarded as being the only country in Southeast Asia where basketball is the most popular sport.
Traditional Philippine gold mines baseball, softball, rugby, skateboarding, winter sports, and arnis were scrapped in Vietnam. ##