SEA Games goes full blast
By: Manila Standard Today Sports
NAY PYI TAW—After the first week of hostilities that saw Team Philippines barely able to keep up with the region’s best comes the start of full-time competitions in the 27th Southeast Asian Games that formally opened Wednesday at the Wunna Theikdi Stadium here.
Along with the 11 events currently underway, chess, swimming and cycling are also set to kick off Thursday with the Filipinos hard-pressed to come up with the gold medals that would not only boost their current standing at sixth in the overall standings but also their confidence.
Friday will see five other disciplines unfolding with the other nine sports Team Philippines is entered in taking turns commencing and winding up before the Games’ closing ceremonies on the evening of Dec. 22.
Already, there is a pervading sense of urgency, unexpressed but almost palpable, among the Filipinos here that must surely be spreading out to their teammates at the other venues in Mandalay, Yangon and Ngwe Saung Beach.
Shooting did nothing to help ease some of the Filipinos’ darkest fears of falling to an all-time low of seventh in the standings when the token contingent of Emerito Concepcion, Jayson Valdez and Benny Cagurin fared badly in the 50m rifle prone.
The trio could only combine for 1809.4 points, good only for seventh out of the seven-team field. Thailand won the team gold with 1841, Vietnam 1,837.6 and Myanmar 1835.1.
Valdez was the best placed Filipino in the individual side, but his 610.4 total failed to put him among the eight who qualified for the final round which Vietnam’s Nguyen Thanh Dat ruled over Thailand’s Tortungpanich Napis and Singapore’s Lim Wen Yi Abel with a 201.3 total.
Before winding up Tuesday, wushu contributed all three of the gold medals Team Philippines has won thus far, throwing in three silvers and a pair of bronzes to boot.
Yet wrestling, which has been tipped to cop two golds like it did two years ago in Indonesia, has been a disappointment thus far with two-time champions Jason Balabal and Margarito Angana settling for only silvers.
Badminton’s doubles team of Paul Jefferson Vivas and Peter Gabriel Manaye also made an early exit after bowing to a Malaysian formerly ranked 16th in the world.
No word has reached Team Philippines’ office on how the PH pencak silat’s bets are faring, but that silence could only mean one thing: no medals.
So it is up to wrestlers Alvin Lobrequito, Jhonny Morte and Joseph Angana, female boxers Maricris Igam, Irish Magno and Josie Gabuco, gunning to join Nesthy Petecio in the finals, swimmers Jasmin Alkhaldi and Matt Navata, paddler Hermie Macaranas, kayaker Alex Generalo and the country’s chessers on Thursday to provide the win or even just a glint of hope.