Palaro standout Maurice Sacho Ilustre sparks Team PH's flying start in 9th Asean Schools Games
Maurice Sacho Ilustre shows off the gold medal he won in the boys 100 meter freestyle event of the 9th Asean Schools Games in Singapore.

SINGAPORE--The Filipino tankers provided the spark for Team Philippines' flying start in the 9th Asean Schools Games Saturday after capturing two golds at the Singapore School Sports here.

Palarong Pambansa record holder Maurice Sacho Ilustre ruled the boys 100 meter freestyle over Singaporean bets Mikkel Jun Jie Lee and Samuel Shaojun, respectively, after clocking 52,23 seconds.

Lee (52.44) and Shaojun (53.07) settled for the silver and bronze medals, respectively.

Ilustre, a De La Salle Zobel standout who swept all of his seven events in the 2017 edition of the Palaro in San Jose de Buenavista in Antique, also won a silver medal in the boys 400 meter freestyle.

A few minutes later, Filipina-British Maitland Newberry also struck a gold in the pool by topping the girls 200m breaststroke. 

Newberry cloked 2:20.88 in winning the event, while Permatahani Azzahra of Indonesia (2:23.31) got the silver, with Filipina and Newberry’s teammmate, Raven Faith Alcoseba (2:26.41), winning the bronze.

In her Facebook post, Newberry said it’s a different kind of honor to represent one's country in an international competition.

“No words can describe how thankful I am right now. It’s an honor carrying the name of the Philippines. #ASEANSchoolGames,” Newberry said.

The gold was actually the third for the Filipinos after long jumper Karl Arvyn Aquino scored the breakthrough early in the morning at the Bishan Stadium. 

Philippine Sports Commissioner Charles Raymond A. Maxey lauded the gallant efforts of the Filipino athletes, who also had a silver, and two bronze medal on the first day of the competition.

“We are happy with the good start. We hope to sustain this fine showing. Credit goes to the athletes for giving their best,” Maxey said.

Department of Education (DepEd) Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali also bared he’s proud of the strong showing so far of Team Philippines.

All gold medalists stand to receive a cash incentives from DepEd as announced by Umali during the pre-departure orientation held at the Bulwagan ng Karunungan Deped Central Office last July 8.

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