NEW CLARK CITY - It appears Team Philippines is saving its best for last.
The gold machine continues to grind for the host, who garnered 22 more on Monday for a new record high output in the Southeast Asian Games.
The contact sports of boxing and jui-jitsi provided almost half of the gold haul in the penultimate day of competitions in this 30th edition of the biggest Games ever.
World women's champion Nesthy Petecio stood at the forefront of the Filipino pugs' seven-gold romp while petite martial artist Meggie Ochoa, another world champion, bannered a three-gold at the start of jiu-jitsu's maiden stint in the biennal meet.
As the smoke of battle cleared, the Filipinos' hiked its record total to 137 gold medals - the most the country ever had since it started competing in the regional Games in 1977.
The host also has also breached the 100-medal barrier in silver (102) and bronze (106) medals, making this overall championship a lot sweeter and memorable to the one first it had in 2005.
And the ending to the Filipinos most productive campaign ever could become even more unforgetable with breakthrough gold medals in women's basketball and men's volleyball, both of which will be gunning for history on Tuesday.
Giving a last-minute thrill as the Games wind down to its final hours is the tight three-way battle for second place among Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia.
The Thais have suddenly surged to second belatedly as it may, sparked by victories in athletics, boxing, and other contact sports that brought their medal total at 84 golds, 90 silvers, and 101 bronzes.
Just five golds behind are the Vietnamese at third with a 79-78-93 tally.
The Indons have fallen to fourth place with 69 golds, 76 silvers, and 102 bronzes, but remain very much capable of pulling surprises and challenge the Thais and Vietnamese for second place.
In a late development that warmed the hearts, Timor Leste finally bagged a silver medal courtesy of taekwondo while hiking its bronze medal tally to five.