SINGAPORE – Maurice Sacho Ilustre and Bhay Maitland Newberry shone anew after spearheading the Philippines’ four gold medal romp at the pool Sunday in the 9th ASEAN Schools Games at the Singapore Sports School here.
Ilustre, 17, won two golds for the day after topping the boys’ 100 meter butterfly and 200 meter freestyle events, respectively.
Not to be outdone, Newberry also struck in the girls’ 100 meter backstroke for her second gold medal in the tournament where she is competing for the first time.
Counting the three golds it won in the opener, Team Philippines has now amassed a total of seven gold medals after two days of competition.
Ilustre, the La Salle Zobel (Muntinlupa City) standout, clocked 55.97 seconds in ruling the butterfly event over Singaporean rival Rhys Jun Kai NG (56.36) and Damanik Alexander (56.41) of Indonesia.
He later added the freestyle event (200 meter) to his gold collection after winning it with a time of 1:53.21, besting Indonesian Fathoni Erick (1:56.13) and Malaysian Tsien Ee Tan (1:56.29).
In all, the MVP of the 2017 Palarong Pambansa secondary division hiked his total gold to three, counting his win in the 100 meter freestyle on the opening day of the annual meet promoting ASEAN solidarity through school sports.
The 14-year-old Newberry, a Filipina-British swimmer, clocked 1:05.42 in her event, beating Indonesian Novita Lestari Dewi (1:06.67) and Kemala Fathihia Sofie (1:07.02).
The fourth gold in the pool was courtesy of Jerard Dominic Jacinto in the boys 100 meter backstroke. He shared the gold with Indonesia’s Setyawan Daniel after both clocked identical records of 59.60 seconds. Sridilok Passakorn of Thailand complete the podium cast,
In an interview after her swim, Newberry bared she wants to be an inspiration to her fellow Filipino athletes.
“It feels good especially that I get to inspire other athletes to train hard,” she said.
For his part, Ilustre said standing on the victory stand gives him goose bumps.
“Sobrang saya po talaga. Iba talaga ang feeling kapag pinapatugtug ang ating national anthem during victory ceremony,” he said.
He learned the ropes of the sport when he was four-years-old from his dad, Bong.
Competing in his first international competition, Ilustre had the privilege to train in the U.S. for four weeks along with other Filipino tankers courtesy of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) and Philippine Sports Institute (PSI).
“Thankful po ako kay Philippine Swimming Inc. secretary-general Lani Velasco and PSC-PSI for the opportunity to train abroad,” Ilustre said
Over at the Bishan Stadium, Sylvian Faith C. Abunda nabbed the silver medal in the girls javelin throw with a heave of 45.34.
Abunda finished behind gold medal winner Devi Jayaindran Pavithraa of Malaysia (46.04).
Thi Trang Dang of Vietnam (40.08) won the bronze.