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PH to cap SEA Games campaign in style

By Nick Giongco

CAPAS, Tarlac—Host Philippines kept its foot on the gas pedal Tuesday even it had already ran away with the overall crown as early as three days ago in the 30th Southeast Asian Games at the New Clark City Athletics Stadium.

The men's and women's teams of Gilas Pilipinas pose after winning against Thai teams in the basketball finals of the 30th Southeast Asian Games at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, December 10, 2019. (MB Photo / Rio Leonelle Deluvio / Canon 5D Mark IV with 16-35mm f2.8 lens)

The men’s and women’s teams of Gilas Pilipinas pose after winning against Thai teams in the basketball finals of the 30th Southeast Asian Games at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, December 10, 2019. (MB Photo / Rio Leonelle Deluvio / Canon 5D Mark IV with 16-35mm f2.8 lens)

Basketball, athletics, kickboxing and jiujitsu added two gold medals each while shooting, soft tennis, E-Sports and billiards chipped in one apiece for a total of 12 during the penultimate of competitions.

Chezka Centeno, left, and Rubilen Amit bag the women’s 9-ball doubles gold after blanking their Indonesian foes in the 30th Southeast Asian Games at the Tent City of the Manila Hotel. MB Photo / Ali Vicoy)

Chezka Centeno, left, and Rubilen Amit bag the women’s 9-ball doubles gold after blanking their Indonesian foes in the 30th Southeast Asian Games at the Tent City of the Manila Hotel. MB Photo / Ali Vicoy)

Basketball, men and women’s completed a sweep with the Gilas men’s slamming Thailand, 115-81, and the underrated women’s team, shocking perennial titlist Thailand, 91-71.

Before Gilas’ trouble-free trip to the top, the Philippines continued to raise the gold medal output even further.

As of 10:30 pm of Tuesday, the Philippines remained entrenched on top with a tally of 149-117-119 while Vietnam is a distant second with a 96-85-104 tally and Thailand at third with an output of 92-102-122.

Indonesia (72-83-111) and Malaysia (55-58-71) make up the top five.

Athletics showcased sprinter Eric Cray in the 400 hurdles and strongman Aries Toledo in decathlon while jiujitsu’s double victory were provided by Adrian Guggenheim in the 77 kg and Annie Ramirez’s own show in the under 55 kg as jujitsu nailed its third gold after Meggie Ochoa’s conquest in the under 45 kg. the day before.

It was the Fil-Am Cray’s fourth straight crown in the 400 hurdles.

Kickboxing equaled the output of the two marquee sports with Jean Claude Saclag winning in the low kick striking gold in the 63.5 kg and Gina Iniong doing the same thing in the 55 kg kick light.

Eric Cray (0002) competes during the men's 400m hurdles event to retain the title in the 30th Southeast Asian Games at the New Clark City Athletic Stadium in Tarlac, Dec. 10, 2019. (MB Photo / Mark Balmores)

Eric Cray (0002) competes during the men’s 400m hurdles event to retain the title in the 30th Southeast Asian Games at the New Clark City Athletic Stadium in Tarlac, Dec. 10, 2019. (MB Photo / Mark Balmores)

The shooting trio of Eric Ang, Carlos Carag and Hagen Topacio ruled the trap and soft tennis likewise winning in the men’s team event.

Later in the day, Chezka Centeno and Rubilen Amit ruled the 9-ball doubles and E-Sports unveiled another master gamer in Cav Acampado, who bagged the gold in Starcraft II after downing Thomas Maria Kopankiewicz of Singapore, 4-1.

To reward the winners, the government, through the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), announced that additional cash incentives would be given by President Duterte to the SEAG standouts.

Aside from the standard P300,000 (gold), P150,000 (silver) and P60,000 (bronze) under RA 10699, an additional P250,000 will be given to the gold winner, P150,000 for silver and P100,000 for bronze.

Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Bambol Tolentino also pledged P300,000 each for every gold won.

The courtesy call at Malacanang happens on Dec. 18, according to PSC chairman and chief of mission Butch Ramirez.

“We were all hoping and praying for this, but it is still a sweet surprise now that it is actually happening. I am so proud of our athletes. All of them deserve our respect and love,” said Ramirez, who, incidentally, was also the PSC chief and CDM when the country hosted the 2005 edition when the Philippines likewise took the overall title.

Meanwhile, the closing rites will be held Wednesday night at the NCC Athletics Stadium with Phisgoc head Alan Peter Cayetano and Tolentino delivering speeches on a night that will feature world-class entertainment from performers with strong Pampanga roots.

It will also be highlighted by the official turnover of the SEAG Federation Council flag to Vietnam, the host of the 2021 SEAG.

Source: Manila Bulletin

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