KUALA LUMPUR - Nikko Huelgas and Kim Mangrobang completed a sweep of the triathlon gold medals in similar 1-2 finishes by the Philippines in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games on Monday morning in Putrajaya, a city south of the Malaysia capital.
Huelgas clocked one hour, 59 minutes, and 21 seconds to clinch the gold for the second straight time in the SEA Games, beating teammate John Chicano who captured the silver with a time of 2:01:26 in the swim-bike-run event.
It was the same story in the women's side with Mangrobang, who finished second in 2015, this time winning the gold medal with a time of 2:11:14 over 2015 champion Claire Adorna, who checked in at 2:18:58.
Huelgas took the lead in the bike stage after emerging from the water in fifth place and never looked back to sail to the win with a two-minute gap.
Chicano also gained ground in the run as he chased a Singaporean competitor to get the silver medal.
Mangrobang and Adorna were running first and second all the way and build a sizeable lead from the rest of the pack until Mangrobang pulled away in the run.
"Gumawa kami ng strategy para ma-assure namin ang first and second, tapos sa run, bahala na," said the 25-year-old Mangrobang.
"Kim is overpowering," said Triathlon Association of the Philippines secretary general Tom Carrasco. "Sobrang lakas, sobrang confident.
Sports officials are now hoping the sweep of Huelgas and Mangrobang will start the gold-medal romp by the Philippines' campaign in the SEA Games.
"I hope that sparks the Philippine team today," said Carrasco.