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Pinoy athletes breach100-gold mark in SEA Games

By NICK GIONGCO

CAPAS, Tarlac – Philippine track and field lost a potential gold medalist in Eric Cray in the century dash after the Fil-Am sprinter was disqualified Sunday after a false start in the morning heats of the 30th Southeast Asian Games at the New Clark City Athletics Stadium (NCC).

SHATTERED DREAM: Fil-Am Eric Cray leaves the field disappointingly after being disqualified due to a false start Sunday at the New Clark City Athletics Stadium. (Mark Balmores)

SHATTERED DREAM: Fil-Am Eric Cray leaves the field disappointingly after being disqualified due to a false start Sunday at the New Clark City Athletics Stadium. (Mark Balmores)

Cray’s boo-boo overshadowed the work done during the first half of the day by women athletes in softball, rowing, women’s soft tennis doubles, golf as well as in men’s and women’s longboard surfing.
The 31-year-old Cray took off before the starting gun was fired and was ordered out of the race, leaving him with no recourse but to watch the action from the sideline.
Cray’s best time in the event is 10.26 which he set during his gold medal run in the 2015 Singapore SEAG.
In his place, Anfernee Lopena will represent the Philippines in the finals late Sunday after clocking 10.61. The top pick now in the event is Thai Sowan Ruttaporn, who clocked 10.34, followed by Hanari Haiqal of Malaysia, who submitted a time of 10.39.
But at the end of the day, the country’s gold medal harvest continued in taekwondo, rugby and billiards, thus breaching the 100-gold mark – thanks to a 21-gold haul for the day.

Melcah Jen Caballero

Melcah Jen Caballero

Before the start of the Monday’s competitions, the Philippines has already 103 golds, 80 silvers and 88 bronzes.
That practically locked the overall title for the country – our first since the 2005 Manila Games.
The softball team trashed Indonesia, 8-0, while Melcah Caballero bagged her second gold, this time, in the lightweight single sculls, after winning her first in doubles a few days ago.
The tandem of Lois Kay Go and Bianca Pagdangana tripped Malaysia in matchplay, 1 ½ to ½ for the team gold in women’s golf at Luisita.
Soft tennis had another field day when the doubles team of Corazon Manalac and Camille Zoleta won against Thailand, 1-0.
Also winning was billiards Rubilen Amit (women’s 10-balls), taekwondo jin Pauline Lopez and men’s rugby team.
The night ended with a bang as PH men’s volleyball team dethroned Thailand in five thrilling sets to advance to the final.
This marks in 42 years the Filipinos will play in the final – against the Indons.
Surfing also made its presence felt when Roger Casogay and Nilbie Blancada won in the longboard open and shortboard open, respectively, in La Union.
In the basketball arena, where people come in droves to cheer for Gilas, Indonesia will be the stumbling block to its mission of gaining entry into the finals when they lock horns in the semifinals at the Mall of Asia in Pasay City.
The other semis pairing will have Thailand and Vietnam.
Finals in athletics and swimming, both venues located inside the NCC, are firing off late Sunday afternoon and well into the night.
Meanwhile, chief of mission Butch Ramirez, also the Philippine Sports Commission chairman, expressed his appreciation to the entire nation’s support showed to the Philippine delegation that competed against the region’s very best in 56 sports the past nine days.
“More than the medal haul, I am thankful for all the sacrifice and hard work that went behind pushing their chances for a shining moment.”
Beyond the country’s staging of the biennial sportsfest, Ramirez believes the 30th SEAG will leave a lasting legacy.
“The gains from this event do not end when the curtains come down. On top of the victories, there are many long-term advantages,” he added, stressing that the current crop of national team member will expand following the impressive showing of the Philippines.

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