National team chef de mission Ramon Fernandez (Photo from PSC Facebook page)

HANOI – Halfway through the 31st Vietnam Southeast Asian Games, national team chef de mission Ramon Fernandez was optimistic that if the trend continues, the county will hit its goal of finishing third overall in the medal standings.

“We are halfway through the Games, and we are in the top three of the medal standings, thank God. We are well within our target of finishing at least third overall. We just have to maintain our performance until the end,” Fernandez said Tuesday.

Despite limited resources and training that was hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic back home, the Filipino campaigners were putting up a gallant stand, delivering their biggest haul thus far the other day of 10 gold medals.

They were in the third spot with a tally of 30 golds, 34 silvers, and 50 bronzes as of Monday night, within striking distance of No. 2 Thailand (34-35-50), while host Vietnam continued to be out of reach at the top (83-50-55)

Dancesport and gymnastics accounted for more than half of the outputs Monday with four and three minutes, respectively, with the pair of Jean Mischa Aranar and Ana Nualla, completing a golden treble in tango, Viennese waltz, and all final dance standards at the Long Bien Gymnasium.

World champion Carlos Edriel Yulo, on the other hand, emerged as the country’s top individual athlete by adding the men’s vault and high bar mints to his bulging collection plus a silver in parallel bars at the Quan Ngua Sports Palace.

Among those who shared the spotlight were swimmer Chloe Isleta and bowler Merwin Tan, who produced the first golds for their respective disciplines in the 200-meter women’s backstroke and men’s singles events, respectively.

“We still have several sports where our athletes can win medals, and hopefully they can deliver,” said Fernandez, who is also a commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission and has been in the Vietnamese capital since May 1 to oversee the needs of the Philippine delegation.

Still in the medal hunt were the PH standard-bearers in athletics, archery, boxing, basketball, bowling, billiards, weightlifting, starring Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Hidylin Diaz, karatedo, taekwondo, wrestling, canoe-kayak, shooting, sepak takraw, muay thai and lawn tennis, according to the Team Philippines point man. (PR)