KUALA LUMPUR – The Philippine campaign in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games has ended on a disappointing note, with a final medal tally of 24 golds, 33 silvers, and 64 bronze medals won. We finish in sixth place, well behind the projected 50-gold haul and below our 29-gold collection in 2015.
Nevertheless, our athletes still provided us with many memorable moments from these Games. Here are our top 10 ranked in no particular order (it was hard to choose a clear-cut no. 1):
Mary Joy Tabal wins the women’s marathon
She almost didn’t even make it to KL due to infighting back home, but Mary Joy Tabal showed everyone that sending her to the SEA Games was definitely the right decision. The Cebuana blew away the opposition, finishing over seven minutes ahead of her closest pursuer to win the country’s first gold of the Games. “No words can express my happiness,” she told sports5.ph after her win.
Eumir Marcial and John Marvin win boxing golds in dominant fashion
Boxing’s two gold medalists both won their divisions convincingly and with some drama. Eumir Marcial totally outclassed his Thai opponent via unanimous decision, and later revealed he had been fighting the entire time with an injured left hand. Meanwhile, light-heavyweight John Marvin made his SEA Games debut with the tournament’s fastest win – a 21-second demolition of a hometown bet who didn’t know what hit him.
Triathletes sweep both divisions
Once again, triathlon contributed as many gold medals as it could, and added a couple of silvers as well for good measure. Nikko Huelgas successfully defended his men’s triathlon title with compatriot John Chicano coming in second. In the distaff side, a new Pinay emerged as triathlon queen after Kim Mangrobang took home the gold and 2015 champion Claire Adorna took the silver.
Mariya Takahashi, just 16, stuns a five-time SEAG champion for a judo gold
Surattana Thongsri of Thailand is a legend in judo in the SEA Games. Since the 2007 Games in Nakhon Ratchasima, she has ruled the women’s under-70kg event, winning five golds in a row. Mariya Takahashi of the Philippines is just 16 and was making her SEA Games debut. Guess who won their gold medal match-up? The Fil-Japanese teenager upset Thongsri, winning by ippon in 48 seconds, to end one of the longest individual reigns in SEA Games history.
The Mighty Ducks shock Thailand to win ice hockey gold
An ice hockey team from the Philippines? You bet! The Mighty Ducks, formed just two years ago and making their SEA Games debut (ice hockey was played for the first time in Games history), had to overcome some silly eligibility problems at the start of the tournament. But once they got going, they went all the way, beating favored Thailand 5-4 in their final game to complete a sweep and bring home the unlikeliest of golds for the Philippines.
Trenton Beram scores a golden double in athletics
The athletics delegation produced the most number of gold medals for Team Philippines with five, and Trenton Anthony Beram contributed two of them, making him the country’s only double-gold medal winner in KL. Beram first scored gold in the men’s 200m dash in 20.84 seconds. The following day he shrugged off cramps and a strange lane assignment to top the men’s 400m in 46.39 seconds and secure his second gold.
Chezka Centeno snatches 9 ball gold from Rubilen Amit in dramatic fashion
Whoever won this gold medal match, it would be a sure gold and silver for Team Philippines. That said, this one was arguably the most dramatic gold won. With both players tied at 6 in a race-to-7 final, Amit stood just three balls away from winning the gold and avenging her 2015 loss to Centeno in the same event. But the cue ball refused to cooperate, landing in a side pocket on a miscalculated shot and gift-wrapping the win and the gold for Centeno, who had already mentally conceded defeat.
Kaitlin De Guzman wins gymnastics gold in same event as her mom did
A 17-year-old gymnast duplicated what her mother, Cintamoni Dela Cruz, did at the 1995 Chiang Mai Games when she brought home the gold in the uneven bars. Kaitlin De Guzman also won a silver and a bronze, making her one of the rare athletes to win all three medals at these Games.
Gilas Pilipinas brings home another basketball gold
The undefeated run capped by a 94-55 rout of Indonesia in the gold medal match was neither shocking nor unexpected, but that didn’t make it any less emotional. The gold medal in the sport we love the most is still the property of the Philippines in the Southeast Asian Games, and the reaction of the Filipino crowd, some of whom had to watch on a giant screen outside the venue, afterwards was testament to its significance.
Perlas Pilipinas rallies late to shock Thailand
The only entry to make the list that wasn’t about winning a gold – Perlas didn’t even get a podium finish thanks in part to some curious scheduling by the hosts that resulted in two games in less than 15 hours – this moment was nonetheless goosebump-inducing. Down by 12 with four minutes to go, Perlas went on a run highlighted by Allana Lim’s game-winning basket with six seconds left to produce a two-point win that shocked the Thais. You want puso? Perlas gave us just that in this game.