ARCHERY GOLD. Archers Pia Bidaure, Abby Bidaure and Phoebe Amistoso celebrate after the gold medal in the women’s recurve team in the ongoing 31st SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam on Wednesday (May 18, 2022). It was the first gold contributed by the archery for the Team Philippines. (Photo courtesy of Team Philippines)

HANOI – Archery contributed its first gold to the Philippine campaign in the 31st Southeast Asian Games here on Wednesday, nipping top seed Vietnam 26-25 in a thrilling shoot-off for the women’s team recurve title at the Hanoi National Training Center.

Abby Bidaure, 20, emerged as the heroine for Team Philippines, hitting the bullseye in the final arrow of the shoot-off for a 10 with just 10 seconds left on the clock, eliciting loud cheers from other members of the team who gingerly watched the thrilling showdown from behind.

The winning team, which included Bidaure’s sister, Pia, and Phoebe Amistoso, battled back with a 57-49 win in the fourth frame after trailing 1-2 in the first three, forcing a shoot-off that came down to Abby’s winning shot.

“Basta ang sinasabi lang po namin, amin na to, kaya na namin, kasi ‘yun lang din po ‘yung ginagawa namin sa practice. Pagkatapos naming mag-shoot, nag-uusap kaming tatlo, ang sinasabi lang po namin, mag- memedal po kami ngayong SEA Games (Our motivation is, we will win it, we can do it, that’s what we did in practice. After we shoot, we said to each other, we will win medal in this SEA Games),” said Pia, 23, like Abby born in Dumaguete.

Pia, who won her first SEA Games gold on her third try, expected Abby to hit the bullseye and make the difference in the tightly-fought contest, saying: “Inaantay ko na lang talagang dumilim ‘yung gitna (bullseye), kasi ang laki ng tiwala namin kay Abby na last shooter. Ang laki ng tiwala namin na maipapasok niya kahit 10 seconds na lang ‘yung naiiwan on the clock (I just waited to hit the target, we are confident that Abby can do it as the last shooter despite having only 10 seconds on the clock)."

“Of course, very happy, kasi ito ‘yung first gold namin, team pa! May trust na kasi ako sa aming tatlo, nu’ng praktis pa, maganda na ‘yung aming shooting. Sobrang confident ko nu’ng papunta kami dito (because it is our first gold. We trust each other. During practice, we did well in shooting. We are confident coming to this tournament),” Amistoso said.

The archery squad gets a chance to shoot for its second gold Thursday when it battles Malaysia in the finals of the compound bow mixed team event.

Shooting a perfect last end, the team of Paul dela Cruz and Jennifer Jing Chan came from behind to edge Thailand 155-154 in the semis last Tuesday while the Malaysians beat Vietnam 154-152.

Billiards’ 2nd gold

Johann Chua pounced on two stunning miscues by reigning US Open champion Carlo Biado en route to a 9-6 victory and crowned himself the new 9-ball billiards champion on Wednesday.

The 9-ball gold was the second for Pinoy cue artists here, with Rubilen Amit winning the women’s side of the event last Tuesday, beating Jessica Chan of Singapore 7-2.

Biado was favored to rule the all-Filipino finals but missed what seemed as makeable shots in the 12th and 15th racks, to the horror of the big crowd at the Hadong District Sporting Hall.

Trailing 5-6 in the 12th, Biado, 39, failed to pocket the 9-ball, smiling after his miscue. He also failed to sink the 8-ball three racks later, with Chua gamely taking over both times to win his first SEA Games gold.

Biado, who failed in his bid to reclaim the title he won in the 2017 Games, raised the hand of the 29-year-old Chua after the match, gamely accepting his defeat for the silver medal.

Biado reached the finals after beating Singapore’s top player, Aloysius Yapp 9-7 in the semifinals.

Chua settled for a pair of bronze medals in the past two editions of the biennial meet. (PR)