PALEMBANG, Indonesia—Team Philippines found an unexpected savior in wall climber Ina Flores Sunday night at the 26th Southeast Asian Games here.
Flores scooped the gold medal in women’s boulder competition of wall climbing at the Jakabaring Sport City, preventing a winless spell for Filipino bets.
Making three total tops in three attempts and earning four bonus points in as many tries, Flores relegated Thai Watchareewan Torres to the silver and Singaporean Chung Sue Ann to the bronze.
The win came after highly regarded Henry Dagmil and Rosie Villarito settled for silver medals in men’s long jump and women’s javelin throw, respectively.
Villarito heaved the javelin to a distance of 51.95 meters, way behind the 55.15m golden effort of Malaysian Tang Song Hwa. Loralie Sarmona copped the bronze with 49.69m.
Swimmer Jessie King Lacuna also produced a silver and so did divers Jaime Asok and Ryan Rexel Fabriga for the Filipinos, who dropped to sixth overall with five golds, eight silvers and 13 bronzes as of 8:30 p.m. (9:30 in Manila).
Host Indonesia pulled away with a 40-29-21 gold-silver-bronze harvest, followed by defending champion Thailand (20-16-24), Vietnam (17-18-19) and Singapore (12-12-17).
Lacuna clocked 1:52.33 in the 200m freestyle, losing to Singaporean Yeo Kai Quan, who timed 1:51.07.
Asok and Fabriga garnered 344.51 points in the 10m synchronized platform event won by the Indonesian pair with 378.12.
Rene Herrera gifted the Philippines with its fourth gold late Saturday night, extending his reign to a decade in the 3,000m steeplechase.
Wisely avoiding wet spots in the rain-soaked track, Herrera clocked 8:52.23, to clinch his fifth straight gold in the biennial meet, three seconds clear of Indonesian Muhammad AQ.
The 32-year-old Herrera, who hails from Jordan, Guimaras, is now one gold short of matching the six triumphs of the legendary Hector Begeo, the steeplechase king in 1983, 1985, 1987, 1991, 1995 and 1997.
With the record-smashing 6.71 leap of Marestella Torres in the morning, the tracksters were still way off the six golds athletics chief Go Teng Kok had predicted for his team.
World No. 1 Dennis Orcollo downed Singaporean Chan Keng Wang, 7-5, and advanced to the semifinals of the billiards 8-ball singles opposite Indonesian Muhammad Zulfikir.
The other Filipino bet, Warren Kiamco, however, got waylaid by Vietnamese Nguyen Phuong Than, 3-7.
In taekwondo, Samuel Morrison and Karla Alava settled for bronze medals. Morrison yielded to Thia Koong Krong, 4-5, in the extra round of their kroyugi under 68 kg encounter. Morrison advanced with a 3-0 victory over Yar Lin Zay of Myanmar, while Alava bowed to Malaysian Lia Karina Mansur, 0-4, in the semifinal.
Marlon Avenido took a 6-9 loss from Phimmasone of Laos in the under 80 kg category.
Mountain biker Nino Surban snared the bronze in the cross country competition with a time of 1:35.27, finishing behind Indonesians Channdra Rafsanjani (1:29.08) and Bandi Sugito (1:30.10) in West Java.
The men’s bridge team hurdled Singapore and Malaysia but lost to Thailand. The women’s team, on the other hand, suffered back-to-back setbacks to Singapore and Indonesia but won over Thailand.
At the chess venue at Hotel Swarma Dwipa here, Grandmaster John Paul Gomez bested countryman GM Darwin Laylo and Indonesian International Master Lioe Dede in succession to grab the solo lead in the blindfold event.
Gomez will face Malaysian IM Mok Tze-Meng in the third round while Laylo, who rebounded by trouncing GM Zaw Win Lay of Myanmar in the second round, meets Dede.
Filipino shooters continued to miss their targets, including multititled Nathaniel “Tac” Padilla, who failed to defend his 25m rapid fire pistol crown.
The 46-year-old Padilla, making his 17th straight appearance in the biennial meet, scored 565 and failed to advance in his pet event won by Vietnamese Ha Minh Thanh with a 584 and final total of 613.
In football, the under-23 Azkals formally dropped their medal aspirations following a 0-5 shellacking from Myanmar in Jakarta. It was a crushing loss for the Filipinos, who squeaked past Laos, 3-2, on Friday.
GM Oliver Barbosa (Elo 2571) and WIM Catherine Perena (Elo 2083) started their campaign in the mixed pair competition by blanking Myanmar, 2-0. Barbosa downed Fide Master Zaw Oo (Elo 2274) while Perena routed May Hsu Lwin (Elo 2112).
After getting an opening-round bye, GM Rogelio “Joey” Antonio Jr. goes up against Thai Kongsee Uaychai in the second round of the ASEAN chess competition.
Top medal prospect GM Wesley So (Elo 2659) will be playing in the individual standard and blitz competition with Barbosa and GM Mark Paragua, respectively.
After missing the last edition, Filipino cyclists return to action with the individual time trials in Bekasi, West Java.
Marites Bitbit, the 2007 SEA Games titlist, will be the lone Philippine entry to the women’s 24km ITT. Mark Galedo and Ronald Gorantes will vie in the 50.7 men’s ITT.
New single sculls sensation Nestor Cordova tests his mettle in the light men’s singles heats today at the Cipule Lake in West Java.