PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – Tokyo Olympics silver medalists Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio scored convincing wins as the Philippines finally flexed its muscles and surged past Singapore for fifth place on the strength of a nine-gold surge Sunday in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games here.
Paalam and Petecio led a 3-of-5 golden finish by Pinoy pugs at the close of boxing competitions while arnis delivered two golds and weightlifting, judo, esports and wrestling had one apiece as of 8 p.m.
Paalam, who won a silver while fighting in the flyweight class in Tokyo, dominated Aldoms Suguro of Indonesia to rule the men’s bantamweight class while Petecio overwhelmed her Indonesian rival in the women’s featherweight division.
Their victories sandwiched the gold medal victory of Paul Bascon over Rujakran Juntrong of Thailand in their light welterweight finals clash as the Pinoy pugs wrapped up their campaign with four gold medals, counting featherweight Ian Clark Bautista’s win last Saturday.
Weightlifter Elreen Ando got the ball rolling for Philippines early in the day by setting new records en route to victory in the 59kg class, with judoka Rena Furukawa following suit by retaining her under 57kg women’s tiara.
Esports delivered its second gold through the Sibol men’s team that swept Malaysia 3-0 in the finale of the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang event and wrestler Jason Balabal topped the 82kg class.
Charlotte Ann Tolentino and Jedah Mae Soriano delivered the first two of an expected avalanche of gold in arnis, ruling the women’s full contact padded stick finals in the bantamweight and lightweight events, respectively.
The 9-gold haul so for the day gave the Pinoy contingent, which is backed by the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee, a total of 46 gold medals, enough to power the team to fifth place past fading Singapore, whose gold medal production remained stuck at 42 going into the last two days of action in the biennial meet.
Matching the country’s fourth place finish last year in Vietnam, however, seemed an impossible task considering Indonesia and Cambodia have cracked the 60-gold mark.
Vietnam was on its way to taking the overall crown anew by nearing the 100-gold mark, with Thailand sure of taking at least second before it hosts the next edition of the games in 2025.
Gilas Pilipinas’ women’s squad in regular basketball humbled Thailand 82-70 and improved to 4-1 in a tie with Malaysia.
With Afril Bernardino showing the way with 18 points, the Filipinas dictated the tempo of the match, turning back the Thais’ desperate comeback bid.
They clash with Malaysia for the silver medal on May 15.
Indonesia, which shocked the Filipinas 89-68 last Friday, looks set to win the women’s cage gold.
Furukawa proved too much for Chu Myat Noe Wai of Myanmar in their battle for the under 57kg class and delivered judo’s first gold medal here.
Ando, taking over from the absence of Olympic champ Hidilyn Diaz, topped the women’s 59kg class with a total lift of 216kg punctuated by new games records of 118kg in the clean and jerk and 98kg in the snatch.
Another lifter, Rosalina Faustino, won a silver medal in the women’s 55kg category.
Table tennis contributed a bronze to the country’s tally courtesy of Richard Gonzales and John Russel Misal in men’s doubles action.