TEAM Go For Gold Philippines showed a preview of its competitive fire in the Southeast Asian Games next year after collecting six gold medals in the Southeast Asian Senior Wrestling Championships held at the Dalubhasaan Lungsod ng San Pablo in Laguna.
Veteran grapplers Margarito Angana and Michael Vijay Cater ruled their respective weight classes in the Greco Roman event together with Noel Norada in the week-long meet featuring the finest wrestlers in the 11-nation region.
Angana has not lost the skills that made him a two-time SEA Games gold medalist, defeating Plyabut Wiratul of Thailand in the men’s 60kg, while Cater took the 55kg title at the expense of another Thai Nattawut Keawkhanchum.
Norada made it three in a row by submitting Vietnam’s Pham Van Co.
Luke Cruz topped the 125kg category in men’s freestyle after beating Dimas Septo Anueraha of Indonesia in the finals, joining women freestyle gold medalists Minalyn Foy-os (57kg) and Noemi Tener (68kg) on the podium.
“We’re very proud our wrestlers. We believe that with our support, they can win more gold medals for the country,” said Go For Gold Philippines godfather Jeremy Go.
Jason Balabal, another two-time SEA Games gold medalist, wasn’t as successful, losing his finals match to an Indonesian foe in the men’s 87kg Greco Roman, while Jefferson Manatad followed the same path against Supriono of Indonesia in the 77kg.
Ronil Tubog (61kg) and Francis Villanueva (97kg) also settled for silver as well as lady freestyle wrestlers Grace Loberanes (50kg), Kristine Jambora (53kg), Shelly Avalino (62kg) and Sweet Berry Perez (72kg).
Backed by Go For Gold Philippines, Filipino grapplers also pocketed eight silver and 13 bronze medals.
Vietnam brought home 12 golds, 11 silver and nine bronzes to secure the overall title of the tournament designed to gauge the competition in the SEA level.
Greco Roman specialists Jonathan Maquilan (63kg), Exel Tubog (67kg), Jason Baucas (72kg), Ronaldo Salon (97kg) and Smael Trazona (130kg) ended up with bronze medals along with freestyle wrestlers Alvin Lobreguito (57kg), Jhonny Morte (61kg), Joseph Angana (65kg), Jossel Canolas (65kg), Anthony Pajaron (70kg) and Royce Tiu (86kg).
Tener also competed in the 65kg women freestyle event and got a bronze together with Bemyla Bernas (57kg).