With 3 days to go, PH still way off SEA Games target


Rubilen Amit and Cheska Centeno celebrate after winning gold and silver medals, respectively, in the women’s 9-ball singles event of the 29th Southeast Asian Games billiards competition Sunday at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center. Pool photo

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – The Philippines added four more gold medals to its haul in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games on Sunday, thanks to impressive performances from its cue artists, a young judoka, and a vengeful taekwondo jin.

But with 22 golds and just three more days of competition left in Kuala Lumpur, the Philippines remains well short of its ambitious target of 50 golds.

Filipina cue artists Chezka Centeno and Rubilen Amit dominated their event once more, ensuring another 1-2 finish for the country in women’s 9-ball with comfortable wins over their Malaysian foes Saturday. Centeno went on to win the gold, rallying past Amit 7-6 in a thrilling final.

Carlo Biado, meanwhile, built a comfortable lead and ran away with a 9-5 victory over Duong Quoc Hoang of Vietnam for the men’s 9-ball crown.

With Biado’s and Centeno’s triumphs, the Philippine billiards team fell just one gold short of its projected total, as the pair of Warren Kiamco and Dennis Orcullo bombed out in the men’s 9-ball doubles and settled for bronze.

Meanwhile, the judo team fulfilled its promise of two golds, after 16-year-old Mariya Takahashi came through with a stunning performance in the final of the women’s -70kg division on Sunday afternoon.

The Filipina-Japanese judoka, whose mother hails from Davao, stunned four-time champion Surratana Thongsri of Thailand as she won via ippon with still two minutes and 44 seconds to spare.

The taekwondo team, meanwhile, produced its second gold of the SEA Games through Samuel Morrison’s victory in the men’s -74kg division.

Morrison was inspired by the controversial loss of his teammate, Arven Alcantara, who bowed to a Malaysian jin in the final of the men’s -68kg division in questionable fashion.

As of 8 p.m. on Sunday, the Philippines has a total of 22 golds, 28 silvers, and 54 bronze medals. Not only is it a ways off from the prediction of 50 golds, the country will also be hard-pressed to just match their 29-gold medal haul two years ago in Singapore.

With the closing ceremony of the 29th SEA Games rapidly approaching, the Philippines can only hope that its remaining medal bets – led by taekwondo jins and weightlifter Nestor Colonia – can rise to the occasion in their events.

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