SINGAPORE – The Philippines captured two gold medals on Independence Day but remained mired in sixth place in the overall medal tally with only a few more events left in the 28th Southeast Asian Games.
Christopher Ulboc and the men’s poomsae team of Dustin Jacob Mella, Rodolfo Reyes Jr., and Raphael Enrico Mella contributed to the gold harvest of the Philippines which ended Day seven of the biennial showpiece with 24 gold, 29 silver, and 53 bronze medals.
Indonesia remains far ahead of the Philippines with a 32-41-54 tally.
That means the Philippines is more or less assured of finishing no lower than sixth spot after Myanmar (11-22-25) failed to win a single gold medal on Friday, but it needs five more gold medals in the following days just to match its output in the Myanmar Games two years ago.
As the medal-rich sport of athletics came to a close on Friday at the National Stadium, Ulboc ruled the 3,000m steeplechase with a time of eight minutes, 59.07 seconds for the athletic team's fifth gold - well below the eight to 12 gold medal target heralded by its leaders.
Prior to the Games, Philippine officials have predicted anywhere from 40 to 60 gold medals which, by now, looked unreachable for the 700-plus contingent heading to the final stretch.
After the race, Ulboc offered the gold to the Philippines as it celebrated the country’s 117th year of independence.
Taekwondo began its campaign with the Mella siblings and Reyes winning gold in the men’s poomsae team event beating Vietnam and Indonesia.
The country's two silver medals for the day also came from taekwondo with Rinna Bibanto taking second in the women’s individual poomsae event and Irene Bermejo bowing to a Vietnam opponent, 19-7, in the women’s Under 46-kg division final.
Edgardo Alejan Jr. finished third in the men’s 400m run while Fil-Americans Donovant Arriola and Jessica Barnard settled for the men’s long jump and women’s 3,000m steeplechase bronze medals, respectively. Narcisa Atienza also placed third in the women’s hepthatlon.
Veterans Liza Clutario and Liza Del Rosario combined forces with youngsters Lara Posadas, Marie Alexis Sy, Maria Arles, and Krizziah Tabora to win the bronze in the women’s team of five event in bowling on 5,776 pinfalls.
In shooting, the men’s trap team of 2008 Olympian Eric Ang, Hagen Alexander Topacio, and Miguel David Laperal took the bronze.
Katharina Lehnert and Jeson Patrombon lost in the women’s and men’s singles semifinals in tennis, respectively, while Jenar Torillos also captured a bronze in the men’s under 54kg in taekwondo.
In waterskiing, Mark Howard Griffin and Maiquel Jawn Selga won the bronze in the men’s and women’s wakeboard events.
The Philippine men’s basketball team formally entered the semifinals with a 125-21 win over Timor Leste even as the women’s squad lost to Indonesia, 61-56, dampening its hopes of a gold medal in the biennial event.