HANOI – Rubilen Amit bagged her second gold at the expense of Chezka Centeno while Carlo Biado got back at Johann Chua as the cue masters capped their campaign in the 31st Southeast Asian Games here by sweeping the 10-ball singles titles Saturday at Ha Dong Gymnasium.
Treat Huey and Ruben Gonzales also won their all-Filipino finals clash with Jeson Patrombon and Francis Casey Alcantara, 6-1, 6-4, at Hanaka Sports and Service Center for tennis’ first gold while weightlifter Vanessa Sarno set new SEA Games records on her way to victory in the women’s 71-kilogram (kg) class.
The four gold medals padded the Philippine medal tally to 47-65-88 gold-silver-bronze, overtaking Singapore (47-44-66) for fourth place as of 8 p.m.
The yet-to-be updated tally also showed the host way ahead (173-103-104), followed by Thailand (75-86-118), Indonesia (57-77-68).
Amit, the World 10-ball champion in 2009 and 2013, beat Centeno for the distaff gold, 7-5.
She also bagged the 9-ball singles gold earlier this week.
“Natutuwa ako dahil Philippines versus Philippines sa finals. Walang pressure na mapunta sa ibang bansa ang gold (I am happy that it’s Philippines versus Philippines in the finals. No pressure that another country might beat us),” Amit said in a news release. “It’s always a pleasure to play Chezka. No lead is safe with her. Naging ma-swerte lang ako (I just got lucky).”
The win was Amit’s 10th in the SEA Games since winning her first two in the 2005 Manila Games.
Centeno was a two-time SEA Games winner in 10-ball.
Biado, 39, avenged his finals loss to Chua in 9-ball singles with a 9-3 victory, their every shot lapped up by a full and appreciative crowd.
The reigning United States Open champion and 2017 World Games winner, Biado raised his cue stick with both hands after pocketing the 10-ball in the 12th rack and exchanged high-fives with Chua, 29.
It was a memorable stint for the Philippine team here, its members led by the legendary Efren “Bata” Reyes going home with four gold, four silver and two bronze medals.
The 67-year-old Reyes had one of the bronze medals (men’s one-cushion carom).
In the 2019 Philippine Games, the team had a 4-3-5 medal haul.
Huey and Gonzales similarly got back at Patrombon and Alcantara who beat them in 2019.
The team will also take home four bronze medals -- women’s singles courtesy of Alex Eala, mixed doubles (Huey and Eala), men’s team (Huey, Patrombon and Eric Olivarez Jr.), and women’s team (Eala, Marian Jade Capadocia, Shaira Hope Rivera, and Jenaila Rose Prulla).
The 18-year-old Sarno, also an Asian Weightlifting champion in 2020, is tagged as the heir apparent to the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medalist, Hidilyn Diaz.
She lifted a SEA record-setting 104 kg in the snatch competition and 135 kg in her third try in clean and jerk for a 239 kg total.
Siriyakorn Khaipandung of Thailand settled for the silver at 223 kg while Restu Anggi of Indonesia finished way behind at 212 kg for bronze.
After struggling to find an answer to Myanmar's opening goal courtesy of Win Theigi Tun, the Philippines’ Sarina Bolden and Quinley Quezada connived to steal the victory.
It was the lady booters’ first medal since also bagging bronze in Bangkok in 1985.
Philippine Sports Commission chief William “Butch” Ramirez said sports leaders and the general public should look at the bigger picture regarding the country’s participation here.
“We must remind everyone that our taking part in the Vietnam SEA Games has a bearing in our buildup to our competing in bigger international competitions such as the Asian Games and Olympics. Let us look at the bigger picture,” Ramirez said in a statement.
“Let us not judge or criticize our athletes who have competed and are still competing in Vietnam. Let us not discourage them and continue to support them all the way. There will be a time and place for that,” he added
He cited the national judo team as a prime example of overcoming challenges even before they headed for Vietnam.
The team is without the services of Kiyomi Watanabe and Mariya Takahaski, who won in 2019, because of injury and academics, respectively.
Rather than be discouraged, the Philippine Judo Federation trained harder the remaining athletes.
Judo has delivered two golds so far, courtesy of Rena Furukawa and Shugen Nakano in the women’s 57 kg and men’s 66 kg divisions, respectively.
“This is the kind of robust resourcefulness and heart we expect from our athletes and their sports leaders, who don’t give excuses but do what needs to be done for their respective sport. We salute the national judo team!” Ramirez said.
The government spent PHP232 million on the Philippine delegation here, including 641 athletes competing in 38 of 40 disciplines. (With a report from Ivan Saldajeno/PR)