NEW CLARK CITY – The bad weather wasn't enough to spoil the day for Team Philippines.
The Philippines found a new gold mine in wushu and along with a good finishing kick from arnis and another inspiring performance from its beloved son Carlos Yulo, had the hosts well-entrenched at the top of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
As Typhoon Tisoy battered the Bicol region and the rest of Northern Luzon, the flame kept burning for the country as it won nine more golds on Tuesday, six from the lovely Agatha Wong and the brave wushu sanda bets at the World Trade Center in Manila.
Wong, 21, triumphed in the women’s taijijan event for her second gold in the meet that got the Philippines’ campaign going on a rather slow day following the cancellation of a couple of events because of the typhoon.
Arnis ended its campaign with a bang, adding two more golds that brought its total to 14 as the host continued to pull away by the end of Day 3 of the competitions.
The Filipinos hiked their gold-silver-bronze tally to 47-30-17 to keep its distance from second-running Vietnam (23-27-25) in the race for the overall championship.
Malaysia momentarily lost grip of third place to Indonesia, but aided by victories in squash, gymnastics, and bowling, regained its previous spot with a 17-5-14 count. The Indons are in fourth place behind a 12-20-18 tally.
Thailand (8-13-20) still couldn’t get untracked and remains in fifth place, with Singapore breathing down its neck with its 8-10-15 medal haul.
Myanmar (1-6-20), Brunei (1-6-20), and Cambodia, which won its first gold courtesy of arnis (3-17), come next in the standings, while still without a gold are Laos (0-0-5) and Timor Leste.
The Filipinos managed to vault to the top following the strong showing of dancesport (10 golds) and arnis, which now has the most number of golds won for the host after victories by Crisamuel Delfin and Aldeguer Mary Allin in the men and women’s non-traditional open weapon, at the close of the three-day competitions at the Angeles University Foundation.
Wushu and Yulo then picked up from where the two sports left off.
After Wong’s second victory, sanda fighters Divine Wally (48 kg), Jessie Aligaga (48 kg men’s), Francisco Solis (56 kg men’s), Arnel Manda (52 kg men’s), and Clemente Tabugara Jr (65 kg men’s) won their respective events one after the other to give the host a new spark.
In all, wushu has accounted for a total of seven gold medals.
Philippine sports’ new wonder boy claimed a second straight gold in gymnastics by topping the men’s artistic floor exercise at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium.
But the 19-year-old resident of Leveriza settled for back-to-back silver medals in the still rings and pommel horse, ending his bid for a seven-gold sweep of his events.
Several events scheduled for Wednesday has been reset in the aftermath of the typhoon, although medal-rich events such as swimming and boxing will get off the wraps on Wednesday at the New Clark City Aquatics Center and at the PICC Forum in Manila, respectively.
Gilas Pilipinas also opens it campaign for an eighth straight gold medal when action in basketball gets going at the Mall of Asia Arena, so will judo in San Fernando, Pampanga and polo in Calatagan, Batangas.