Sunday’s Harvest Day kicks off Philippines’ ambitious SEA Games championship aspirations

Triathlon, sepak takraw and the men’s arnis team swept their way to winning gold medal feats while dance sports kept the beat going all day long as the Philippines came up with its most productive start in years, winning 22 gold, 12 silver and nine bronzes on a massive day of harvest Sunday.

Carlo Yulo and Agatha Wong also took center stage and lived up to their billing by ruling in their own sports and the Filipinos were able to come up with their best start in years, the most number of medal collections, at least since they last hosted the games in 2005.

The gold medal winners in dance sports include Michael Angelo Marquez and Stephanie Sabalo, who ruled the Latin Five Dance and Paso Doble; Wilbert Aunzo and Pearl Marie Cañeda, who stamped their class in the Solo Rumba, Cha Cha and Samba; Sean Micha Aranar and Ana Leonilla Nualla, who produced in the Standard Five Dance, Tango, and Viennese Waltz; and Mark Jayson and Mary Joy Renigen, who contributed in the Waltz and Foxtrot, respectively.

Our bets in dance sports proved to be the most productive in the country’s gold haul, winning 10 of 13 gold medals, but the victories posted by triathlon, sepak takraw and the men’s arnis team, which swept their way and sent a strong signal to the opposition, had somehow strengthened the Philippines’ ambitious bid to reclaim the overall championship it last accomplished 14 years ago.

Triathlon came off to a blazing start as our bets in the men’s and women’s individual events both ended up in 1-2 finishes.

John Chicano, now the torch bearer for the Pinoy triathletes in the absence of reigning two-time champion Nikko Huelgas, lived up to expectations when he ruled the men’s individual with a time of ome hour, 53 minutes and 26 seconds. Placing second was 19-year-old Andrew Remolino, who had the best time in the swim, but could only stay behind Chicano in the run and bike disciplines.

The women triathletes also provided the 1-2 punch for the Philippines as heavy favorite Kim Mangrobang blazed past all the competitors entered in the event.

Serious on her aspirations of pursuing an Olympic dream, Mangrobang, who trained whole year round in Europe and South America, bested her opponents when she submitted a time of two hours and two minutes while compatriot Kim Kilgroe settled for a silver.

But there were surprised accomplishments for the Philippine contingent and just like the old saying goes, it could happen on any given Sunday.

Our sepak takraw team made it a double celebration in the men’s and women’s event as they brought down powerhouse regions to account for a two-gold haul.

The most shocking win came from the women’s side, which surprisingly found its way facing an Indonesian team in the finals and saw Myanmar, a heavy favorite, settling for a bronze.

Once regarded as our national sport, the Filipinos are now beginning to regain a full grasp in the sport and the men team’s latest feat completed the day for our sepak takraw bets.

Arnis, an indigenous sport for the Filipinos, also asserted its might and none could be more forceful than the ones showed by the men’s squad, which romped its way to collecting four gold medals.

Dexter Bolambao, Mike Bañares, Niño Mark Talledo, Villardo Cunamay each produced a gold medal each, which increased the morale of the Filipino athletes competing in this year’s edition of the biennial meet.

Jezebel Morcillo was the women team’s lone bright spot in arnis as she bagged the gold, beating Chendaroth Khiev of Cambodia.

Then there’s Carlo Yulo, a world champion gymnasts, who ruled the Individual All-Around.

An instant celebrity when he won the World Championships in Germany, the 19-year-old Yulo was simply too much against his rivals. The clincher happened in the floor exercise where he garnered a score of 14.650 to top all performers.

Yulo was also the top scorer in the Horizontal with 13.750.

Agatha Wong successfully defended her title in the women’s tajiquian event of wushu, compiling a score of 9.67, which bested her previous mark of 9.66 when she won the same event in Kuala Lumpur two years ago.

Following a sizzling start, the Philippines quickly vaulted its way to the leader board and served notice of its title aspirations.

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