HANOI—Locked in a bitter fight for third place with Indonesia and Singapore, the Philippines managed just two golds courtesy of bowling and judo in yet another uneventful day for the country in the 31st Southeast Asian Games here on Thursday.
Already a gold winner in these games in the men’s singles, bowler Merwin Tan led the team-of-4 composed of Christian Dychangco, Ivan Malig and Patrick Nuqui to the gold with 5275 pinfalls, 113 pins ahead of runner-up Malaysia at the Royal City Hanoi Bowling Lanes.
Tan, a 22-year-old left-hander, rolled 1411 pinfalls for a six-game average of 235.17, the best among all the 24 competitors in the six-team field. Dychangco backed him up with 1377 pinfalls and an average of 229.50, including a tournament-high 278 in the sixth and final game.
But as the day wore on, Pinoy athletes stayed unusually silent, until judoka Rena Furukawa Lanoy broke the silence when she edged Chu Myat Noe Wai of Myanmar, 1-0, in the finals of the women’s under 57kg class at the Hoai Duc Gymnasium.
The two golds raised the tally of Team Philippines, backed by the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee, to 40, counting the victory of the women’s Wild Rift squad late Wednesday—the first esports gold for the country here.
Still, the Philippines slid to fourth spot in the medal table behind host and virtual overall champion Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia.
As Vietnam pulled away further from the pack with a gold-silver-bronze harvest of 149-90-83 at 9 p.m., Thailand, once jostling with the Philippines for second, improved to 62-66-95, with Indonesia moving up to third with a 42-60-56.
The Filipinos also had 55 silver and 76 bronze medals, their silver medal production spelling the difference in the fight for fourth. Singapore had a 40-41-52 tally for fifth.
Help, however, is coming from the big guns on Friday from Tokyo Olympians Hidilyn Diaz and Nesthy Petecio as the Philippines makes another push to regain lost ground.
Diaz steps into the Hanoi Sports Training and Competition Center weightlifting stage at 1 p.m. (Manila time), her first competition in eight months since winning the country’s first and only gold medal in the Tokyo Olympic Games
“I will give my best po. Watch us and please support Pinoy weightlifters,” said the 31-year-old Diaz, who will try to defend the women’s 55-kg crown she won during the 2019 Philippine edition of the biennial meet.
Petecio, Tokyo Olympics’ silver medalist, battles Vietnamese Tran Thi Linh on Friday, eyeing a decisive victory to avoid a controversial decision in the women’s featherweight boxing event at the Bac Ninh Stadium here.