HANOI – The Philippines stayed in fifth place at the end of action on Friday, but is banking on a late surge of gold medals especially from all-Filipino finals to move it up the 31st Southeast Asian Games medal tally.
The Filipinos hauled three gold medals beginning with the successful title defense of Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz on Friday to hike its gold-silver-bronze tally to 43-59-82 with four more days of competition to go.
[See Golden repeat for Hidilyn Diaz at SEA Games]
That put Team Philippines in fifth position trailing third-placer Indonesia (49-69-63) by six gold medals and fourth-running Singapore (47-44-62) by three.
Officials, however, expect Team Philippines can make a last-ditch run at a third-place finish after three all-Filipino finals were set in billirds and tennis and a couple more final events where the country has strong gold chances set in the coming days.
The Philippines is set to sweep the events in billiards' 10-ball event with Rubilen Amit and Chezka Centeno battling for the women’s gold medal and Johann Chua and Carlo Biado clashing in the men’s final.
Francis Casey Alcantara and Jeson Patrombon go up against Treat Huey and Ruben Gonzales in the men’s doubles finals in tennis.
Diaz, competing for the first time since her historic weightlifting gold medal at the Tokyo Games, ruled the -55 kilogram division by beating fellow Olympic gold medalist Sanikun Tanasan of Thailand by 3 kilograms with her 206kg total.
Sibol delivered esports’ second gold medal by winning the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang final against Indonesia while Shugen Nakano won the Philippine judo team's second gold medal in the men’s -66 kilogram division.
Only two silvers were added in Krizzie Pabulayan in the women’s -52 kilograms in judo and Carlo Von Buminaang in the men’s 56 kilograms of vovinam.
Junna Tsukii, Jamie Lim, Remon Misu, and Mae Soriano captured bronze in the women’s team kumite as well as Janelle Mae Frayna in the women’s individual blitz, and Huey and Alex Eala in the mixed doubles in the campaign supported by the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee.
Irish Magno and Ian Clark Bautista advanced to the boxing finals in their respective events but Olympic silver medalist Nesthy Petecio lost in her semifinal match against Vietnam.