The Philippines continued its dominance on Day 6 of the 30th Southeast Asian Games and remained firmly entrenched at the top, thanks to an unheralded marathoner, an Asian Games golf champ, a Fil-Japanese in judo, a twin-kill from the debuting obstacle racing course event and a former contestant from the ABS-CBN’s The Voice Teens Philippines in modern pentathlon.
Friday’s seven gold-medal haul had Team Philippines raising its medal tally to a total of 71 golds, 55 silvers and 50 bronzes with other events still going on late Friday as the hosts continued to pull away from the rest of the field.
Indonesia has overtaken Vietnam at second place as it now has a tally of 40-41-47, with the Vietnamese relegated to third place (38-41-52).
Singapore continued its dominance on the pool and currently sits at fourth place (32-22-36), followed by Malaysia (28-20-29).
Playing second fiddle to 2017 SEAG marathon champion Mary Joy Tabal, Christine Hallasgo did the unexpected and pulled off a queen-sized upset in marathon, which started and finished inside the New Clark City Athletic Stadium.
The 27-year-old Hallasgo found her chance to go for the women’s crown when Indonesian runner Odekta Naibaho collapsed in exhaustion in the last 400 meters as she reached the turn going into the NCC complex.
As Naibaho was carried out of race route, Hallasgo took over the lead and reached the stadium finish line with Tabal, for a 1-2 finish among Filipina bets in the women’s division.
Hallasgo, a first-ever gold medal right on her first SEA Games’ stint, reached the finish line in two hours, 56 minutes and 56 seconds in scorching conditions.
The favorite Tabal, who dropped down in exhaustion upon reaching the finish line, was one minute and 53 seconds behind to check in at 2:58.49. She had to be carried off the track in a stretcher when it was over.
“I didn’t expect to win,” she said in Filipino. “I prayed that my body would be in condition so that I would not be left by the lead pack.”
Hallasgo made it to the national team as a late entry.
Asian Games’ gold medalist Bianca Pagdanganan completed a come-from-behind victory over Thailand’s Kan Bunnabodee to win the women’s individual play in golf Friday.
Staring at a one-shot deficit going into the last four holes, Pagdanganan closed out with a 71 and a 209 for the title, three strokes ahead of Thailand’s Kan Bunnabodee, whose even par 72 and 212 total was good for silver. Pimnipa Panthong, also of Thailand, took the bronze with 71-213.
Lois Kaye Go (72-215), Pagdanganan’s teammate during the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asiad team play, was tied for fourth with Asia’s No. 1 amateur, Atthaya Thitikul (71-215).
Meanwhile, Michael Ver Anton Comaling made up for a disappointing SEA Games’ debut earlier this week by capturing the title in the modern pentathlon at the Subic Boardwalk in Subic.
After finishing a forgettable seventh during Wednesday’s laser run, Comaling, a former contestant of ABS-CBN’s “The Voice Teens Philippines,” outgunned Phurit Yohuang of Thailand in a rematch of their Thailand Open showdown last year.
Comaling clocked 17 minutes and 8.87 seconds, while Yohuang came in at 17 minutes and 19.83 seconds in the event, where competitors target a shaded circle using a laser pistol from 10 meters, then swim 50 meters in open water before running an 800-meter sand course, with the sequence repeated four times.
Comaling was assessed a 10-second violation added to his time after he failed to place one of his shoes properly inside the tray before his second swim, but it didn’t matter as he was way ahead.
“I just gave it my all, because I really wanted to win the gold badly. That’s why after the finish, I collapsed, but it was worth it,” he said.
Indonesia’s Muhammad Taufik bagged the bronze (17 minutes and 37.76 seconds).
On the women’s side, Princess Honey Arbilon clinched her second medal – a bronze – a with a time of 21 minutes and 29.36 seconds.
In judo, Mariya Takahashi gave the hosts another gold by winning the women’s 70kg class. The Fil-Japanese scored an ippon against her Thai opponent Surattana Thongsri at the 1:55 mark of the match to give the Filipino judokas their third gold in the biennial meet.
The 18-year-old Takahashi became the second Filipina judoka to win a gold for the host after Kiyomi Watanabe.
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