SILVER turned to gold for Kristel Macrohon.
"Alam ko, expect ko mag-silver lang talaga po ako. Hindi ko in-expect na mag-gold po talaga ako," said the 23-year-old as she held back tears after winning the women's 71 kg division in the weightlifting competitions of the 30th Southeast Asian Games on Wednesday.
Macrohon said she was pleased with what looked like a runner-up finish after successfully lifting 123 kg in her final attempt in clean and jerk that vaulted her total to 216.
She gave it her all, with the lift eclipsing her previous high of 121 in clean and jerk.
"Sinasabi sa akin ni coach, 'Last na ito. Bigay mo na lahat.' Bahala na kung mabuhat ba ng kalaban or hindi. Basta binuhat ko lang kung ano dapat buhatin ngayon," she recounted.
Sitting at 214, Vietnam's Thi Van Nguyen was breathing down Macrohon's neck as she made her final clean and jerk at 125.
But she stumbled, quickly triggering cheers for the Filipina weightlifter, much to the surprise of everyone inside Ninoy Aquino Stadium - including Macrohon.
"Hindi po talaga," she said, basking in the glory of her triumph which was her first in an international competition.
What a SEA Games debut it was for Macrohon, who only dreamt of being in this position since starting the sport at the tender age of 11.
"First time ko po na SEA Games. Sobrang saya po talaga na, na-representa ko yung Pilipinas po dito sa SEA Games," she said, making her the second Filipina to win the gold in these games after her idol and ate Hidilyn Diaz in the women's 55 kg.
"Grabe po ang kaba ko po ngayon. Sobrang pressured po talaga ako sa laro pong ito ngayon. Pero thank you po kasi andyan po sila. Lagi po nila sinasabi na, 'Ate, wag ka lagi mag-negatibo. Kaya mo 'yan.' Sinasabi din sa akin ni ate Hidilyn na kaya ko, gawin ko lang best ko."
Macrohon also sees her victory as a redemption of sorts for teammate Elreen Ann Ando, who settled for silver in the women's 64 kg a day prior.
"Naibawi ko po, kasi dapat mago-gold po talaga si Ando, pero ngayon ako pong magbawi ng gold para kay Ando," she said.