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PH wins 5 more golds

KUALA LUMPUR – Olympian Eric Cray hung on to a nerve-wracking victory in the 400-meter hurdles to cap the Philippines’ five-gold medal haul Tuesday in the 29th Southeast Asian Games.

The 28-year-old defending champion appeared to have the race under control until Quach Cong Lich of Vietnam made his move in the final bend.

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Cray was still ahead after the final hurdle, but the tall Vietnamese finished strong and forced a photo finish.

It took a while, and after the winner was announced, Cray heaved a sigh of relief and rushed to grab the Philippine flag and hoist it in the air.

Cray clocked 50.03 seconds while Quach did 50.05. A far third was Indonesian Andrian who timed 51.52 seconds.
The winning time was slower than the 49.40 seconds he clocked in winning the event two years ago in Singapore.

Francis Medina, the other Filipino entry, had a bad fall while clearing the final hurdle and left the track in wheelchair.

Cray returned to the track an hour later and was beaten to second place by Malaysian Karul Hafiz in the century dash.

Hafiz clocked 10.39 seconds as opposed to Cray’s 10.43 seconds.

Adding the two golds won in gymnastics and the gold each in fencing and wushu, the Philippines now has 8 gold medals.

It also has nine silvers and 11 bronzes, excluding the two already assured in boxing.

In gymnastics, Kaitlin de Guzman captured the same event won by her mother 12 years ago and Reyland Capellan made a successful defense of his floor exercise title.

De Guzman, 17, who now lives in Rowlett, Texas, topped the uneven bars with a score of 12.875, easily besting Tracie Ang of Malaysia and Rifda Irfanaluthfi of Indonesia who earned 12.550 and 12.075, respectively.

Kaitlin was only five years old when her mother, Cintamoni, took the gold during the 1995 SEA Games in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Showing supreme confidence, De Guzman went through her routine flawlessly, capping it with a perfect dismount.

Capellan, competing in the men’s floor exercise he dominated in 2015, was also impeccable, earning 13.95 to relegate Zul Asri of Malaysia and Tiklimporn Surintornta of Thailand in second and third, respectively.

“Nakita ko po yung Malaysian na nauna sa akin, sabi ko mataas ang score, pero nag-focus ako sa routine ko,” said the 24-year-old high school dropout from Rizal.

On Wednesday, the seven-year national team mainstay seeks a second gold in the men’s vault where he won the bronze in 2015.

The second day of fencing competition produced gold, two silvers and bronze with Wayne Brennan beating compatriot Nathaniel Perez in the all-Filipino individual foil final.

Brennan eliminated Sopanut Mayakarn of Thailand, 15-9, while Perez ousted Jet Ng Shang Fei of Singapore, 15-9, in the semifinals.

A silver and bronze came in the women’s individual epee.

Hanniel Abella edged teammate Harlene Raguin in the semifinals, but went down to a Vietnamese opponent to settle for the silver. Raguin picked up the bronze.

In wushu, Agatha Wong followed up her silver medal finish Monday with gold in the women’s taijiquan.

Wong , a 19-year-old graduating student at College of St. Benilde, earned 9.66 for her impressive performance.

The Filipinos collected two silvers and two bronzes in karate.

Rexor Tacay and Jayson Ramil Macaalay lost in the finals of the kumite -67kg and -60kg, respectively.

Fil-Japanese Junna Tsukii took the bronze in the women’s kumite -50kg.

The other bronze medallists were Richard Gonzales who placed third in men’s singles of table tennis and OJ delos Santos in the men’s individual kata.

The country is also set to collect two bronze medals following the semifinal losses suffered by light welterweight Charly Suarez and flyweight Ian Clark Bautista.

At the National Aquatic Center, the Philippines claimed its first medal when Roxanne Ashley Yu placed third in the women’s 200-meter backstroke.