3 golds fail to boost anemic PH campaign
PALEMBANG, Indonesia—Cycling’s Alfie Catalan showed he’s still the sprint king, and the national clouters and rowers delivered as Team Philippines mounted a last-ditch rally to climb out of the pits in the 26th Southeast Asian Games here Sunday.
Humbled by Indonesian Warseso Projo in the qualifiers, Catalan, an Army corporal, got back at his tormentor in the finals of the 4,000-meter individual pursuit, clocking 4 minutes and 53.1 seconds at the Rawamangun Velodrome in West Java to duplicate his triumphs in the 2005 and 2007 SEA Games.
Nearly left at home due to lack of sponsors, the baseball team completed its vindication by repeating over the Indonesians, 2-0, to regain the title it lost to the Thais in Nakhon Ratchasima four years ago.
Over at Lake Cipule, the men’s 22-crew dragon boat squad, a gold-medal long shot, edged regional power Myanmar in the 1,000-meter event of the traditional boat race.
Paddling with rhythm and precision, the Filipinos thwarted a spirited charge by the Burmese to clock 1 minute and 53.95 seconds.
Myanmar settled for the silver in 1:54.12 with Thailand bagging the bronze in 1:56.20.
“This gold (medal) is truly special because we had only four months to prepare for the event,” the 29-year-old Catalan said in Filipino.
Catalan relinquished his title in the 2009 Laos SEA Games without a fight after the Philippine team was denied the chance to compete due to lack of licenses from the international federation.
The Philippines finished 1-3 in the event after 18-year-old John Rene Mier timed 5:00.90 for the bronze, nipping Malaysian Amir Mustafa of Malaysia.
In bowling,Frederick Ong made the stepladder finals of the men’s Masters event Sunday night by topping the second block the short oil – with a total of 1,827 pinfalls.
Sadly, compatriot and former world champion Biboy Rivera missed joining him there after finishing fourth with a 1,723 in the second block for 3,569 overall, 25 pins short of Malaysian Muhamad Syafiq Rid.
Ong is seeking his second gold in a bid to become the most bemedalled Filipino athlete here. He also has a silver and two bronze medals.
The stepladder finals were still going on at press time.
It was a good day for the cyclists as the men’s 4,000-meter team pursuit squad of Mier, Catalan, John Paul Morales and Arnold Marcelo also pocketed a bronze.
The rowers added another silver through their men’s 10-crew for 500 meters after timing 2:16.30, nearly two seconds behind Myanmar.
As a bonus, the 12-man 500m rowing team, which was disqualified Saturday for allegedly fielding ineligible paddlers, was finally given the bronze after its protest was upheld.
The clouters swept their five games at the Jakabaring Sport City stadium, including a 4-0 blanking of the Indonesians and a 9-2 demolition of the Thais in the elimination round.
Despite the victories, the Filipinos remained mired at sixth place in the overall tally with a total haul of 27 golds, 45 silvers and 63 bronzes as of 6 p.m. (7 p.m. in Manila).
With two days of full-blast action left, the Indonesians are assured of the overall championship with a gold-silver-bronze horde of 144-118-110.
The Thais are well-entrenched at second (90-78-100), followed by Vietnam (80-80-84), Malaysia (51-44-66) and Singapore (40-43-71).
In the boxing semifinals late Saturday, lightweight Charly Suarez ousted Thai Ardee Saylom to advance to Monday’s finals against Indonesian Mandiangan Matius.
Also bidding for the gold is light welter weight Dennis Galvan, who’ll be facing another hometown bet in Afdan Bachtila.
Guangzhou Asian Games champion Rey Saludar, however, bowed to Indonesian Julio Bria in the flyweight division to settle for the bronze.
Pinweight Josie Gabuco and light flyweight Alice Kate Aparri retained their crowns while Nesthy Petecio settled for the light bantamweight silver.
News and features about 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from August 19-30. Visit http://inq.news/seagames.
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