By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Filipina gymnasts made their presence felt by capturing the team event gold medal in the women’s artistic gymnastics at the 31st Southeast Asian Games Saturday in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Helped largely by the powerful performance of Fil-American Aleah Finnegan Cruz, the PH team, that included Chiara Andrew, Ancilla Lucia Mari Manzano, Lucia Gabriel Gutierrez, Kursten Rogue Lopez, and Ma. Cristina Loeranes, tallied 184.500 points to rule the six-team field.
Vietnam came in second with 183.800 points, followed by Singapore with 182.550.
Finnegan also clinched the silver medal in the individual all-around with 49.250 points behind eventual champion Rifda Irfanaluthfi of Indonesia, who tallied 49.650.
Malaysia’s Rachel Li Wen Yeoh bagged the bronze with 48.550.
The last time the Philippines won a medal in women’s artistic gymnastics was in the 2001 Kuala Lumpur Games, with Pia Adelle Reyes leading the way.
The seven-gold medal haul raised the country’s total to 12, counting the gold medals retained by kickboxers Gina Iniong-Araos and Jean Claude Saclag after midnight last Friday.