Mixed results in SEA Games: Obstacle racers save day

SWEET VICTORY. Jamie Lim, daughter of PBA great Samboy Lim, playfully bites her karate gold medal.

Phnom Penh—Team Philippines rode a roller-coaster of emotions on Sunday, celebrating the highs of a six-gold rush triggered again by the obstacle course racers, and the lows of back-to-back defeats in the 3×3 basketball finals of the 32nd Southeast Asian Games here.

For the second straight day, OCR remained perfect for the Filipinos as the men’s and women’s relay teams proved too much for the opposition, taking the last two golds to complete a four-event sweep, while further boosting their status as the best in the region.

A certified crowd drawer at the Chroy Chavrang Convention Center Car Park, the men’s quartet of Ahgie Radan, Elias Tabac, Mervin Guarte, and Jay-ar de Castro hurdled all the obstacles in a new global standard of 24.47 seconds to beat Malaysia’s Ghalib Mohamad Azimi, Mohd Redha Rozlan, Nuur Hafis Said Alwi and Yoong Wei Theng, who clocked 25.15.

Earlier, Sandi Menchi Abahan, Mecca Cortizano, Milky Mae Tejares and Maritess Nocyao reigned supreme in the women’s category with a world mark of 33.73 at the expense of Indonesia’s Anggun Yolanda, Ayu Pupita, Mudji Mulyani and Rahmayuna Fadillah (35.06).

The other gold medals were delivered by reigning duathlon queen Kim Mangrobang, the women’s soft tennis squad of Bien Zoleta-Mañalac and Princess Catindig, jiu jitsu fighter Marc Lim, who finally triumphed in his third SEA Games, and karateka Jamie Lim, who bounced back from her bronze-medal finish in Vietnam last year.

Mangrobang kept her crown in the 5k run, 20km bike and 2.5k run finale at the Kep Beach Resort; Zoleta-Mañalac and Catindig completed a championship sweep capped by a 5-2 victory over Chatmanee and Napawee Jankiaw of Thailand in the women’s doubles finals; Marc Lim beat Vietnam’s Dang Dinh Tung for the men’s ne-waza nogi 69kg gold; and Jamie Lim returned to her rightful place on top of the SEA Games karate world by ruling the women’s -61kg women’s individual kumite at the Chroy Changvar Center Hall A.

Backed by the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee, the Philippines fell to fourth place with 13 golds, but was just a gold shy of third-running Indonesia and two behind second-placed Thailand.

Host Cambodia continued to lead the way with 28 gold, 21 silver and 23 bronze medals, mainly through its domination of indigenous sports like kun-bokator, an ancient form of martial art; kun khmer; and vovinam.

The Filipinos also had 18 silver medals, two one of them coming from the Gilas Women, which lost to Vietnam in the finals, 16-21, and the men’s squad that succumbed to a Cambodian team backstopped by three naturalized players in Brandon Peterson, Sayeed Pridgett, and Darrin Dorsey.

Karate also contributed four silver medals for the day, courtesy of kumite fighters Matthew Manantan (men’s -67 kg), Ivan Agustin (-84 kg), Remon Misu (-68 kg women) and Ariane Brito (+68kg women).

Cambodia’s bid for a Cinderella finish will be severely tested when the region’s big guns, among them the Filipinos, Thais, Indonesians, and Malaysians, press their bids in several martial arts disciplines and athletics, which get going Monday at the Morodok Techo Stadium.

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