Rower shines for Philippines, PH still 7th overall



(As of 7 pm)

Country        Gold Silver Bronze Total
1. Thailand     57    44      46     147
2. Vietnam      41    36      41     118
3. Myanmar     39    37      40     116
4. Indonesia   35    50      50     135
5. Malaysia      25    21      46       92
6. Singapore    18    16      25      59
7. Philippines   12    17      23      52
8. Cambodia      4     7       12      23
9. Laos              3     6       20      29
10. Brunei          1     1        4        6
11. Timor Leste  0     0         1       1

NAY PYI TAW – Nestor Cordova does it again.

The rower who gave Team Philippines its lone glint of sunshine on a particularly bleak day two years ago again struck and saved Monday for the Filipinos in the 27th Southeast Asian Games here.

Bucking a bitingly cold morning aggravated by strong headwinds, a poor start in the 2-km race and a determined hometown bet, Cordova dug deep inside for the needed strength that pushed him to a repeat win in the lightweight single sculls.

“Hindi ko din alam kung saan ako kumuha ng lakas, eh,” said Cordova, who won the same event in 2011 Indonesia and averted a gold shutout for the country then.

“Basta ang alam ko lang, sinasabi ng isip ko na ibigay ang lahat kahit medyo nanghihina na ang katawan ko. Mabuti na lang at nakuha ko ang ginto,” added the 36-year-old Navy sergeant.

Following some tense moments at the finish Cordova was declared winner with a clocking of seven minutes and 49.38 seconds to the 7:49.68 of Myanmar’s Ayung Ko Min, who led for most of the race before being caught by Cordova in the last 100 meters.

Sinag Pilipinas was formally awarded the men’s basketball gold that it secured as early as last Sunday while swimmers Jessie Khing Lacuna, Jasmine Alkhaldi and Matt Navata made it through to the evening finals of their respective events.

Still, Cordova’s golden feat at the Nga Lite Dam stood out as it was the only one won in the playing field for the day and came in mid-morning that caused it to be viewed as the spark Filipinos needed to trigger a charge in other fronts.

Alas, it was not meant to be as other PHL bets failed to add on to what Cordova started.

Benjie Tolentino Jr. and Edgar Ilas could only wind up second in lightweight double sculls while the rowers’ lightweight fours of Tolentino, Ilas, Alvin Amposta, Roque Abala Jr. fared worse, landing only fourth.

Heptathlete Narcisa Atienza could only land silver and a similar finish was claimed by Sinag Pilipinas following an 80-31 win over Myanmar.

The only other medals won by PHL bets were through marathoner Eric Panique and archer Earl Benjamin Yap in compound individual, following a single arrow shoot-off with teammate Delfin Adriano.

The meager output for the day jacked Team Philippines’ gold-silver-bronze total to 12-17-23, still six victories shy of the contingent it is trying to catch at sixth, Singapore.

As of 6 p.m. local (7:30 p.m. Manila), Thailand’s 57 golds pace the 11-team field, followed by Vietnam (41), Myanmar (39), Indonesia (35) and Malaysia (28).

Miserably failing in their respective bids were pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena and lady hammer thrower Lorelie Sermona, who each wound up fourth.

The cycling team of Alfie Catalan, John Renee Mier, Arnold Marcelo and Jan Paul Morales could only manage sixth in the 100km Team Time Trial while Dennis Orcollo lost to Thailand’s Nitiwat Kanjanasri, 9-8, in the 9-ball singles quarterfinals.

There remains enough hope for the Filipinos.

Asian Youth Games champion Mia Legaspi and Princess Superal each scored a 72 for a share of second with two others in the individual race at start of women’s golf and the Filipinas’ 144 total is three-up over Myanmar and Thailand in team play.

In the men’s side, the team-up of Rupert Zaragosa (71), Justin Quiban (75) and John Kier Abdon (76) resulted in a second round and a 440 total for sixth running place, 22 shots behind leader Thailand.

Abdon’s 146 total put him in a share of 14th spot with teammate Zaragosa in individual play.

In chess, GM Eugene Torre d. Indonesia’s Ali Muhammad Lutfi and GM John Paul Gomez d. Thanarotrung Ratchapon of Thailand in first round of 960 individual rapid.

For his part trackster Mervin Guarte tries to better his 800m silver finish in Indonesia two years ago through Tuesday’s finals. Fil-Am Eric Shawn Cray and June Rey Bano are competing in the morning heats of the 400mhurdles, hoping to advance to the afternoon medal plays.

Orcollo and Carlo Biado are also set to see action in 10-ball preliminary Tuesday along with the equestrian team in show jumping.

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