RP  GOLDEN  DRIVE  TAPERS  OFF
 
NAKHON RATCHASIMA, DECEMBER 10, 2007
(STAR) By Gerry Carpio Ė Two gold medalists from the 2005 Southeast Asian Games in Manila saved the Philippines from embarrassment as they salvaged the only golds that slipped the hands of Thailand, Vietnam Singapore and Malaysia yesterday in the 24th SEA Games here.

Rubilen Amit repeated her golden feat in the womenís 9-ball pool singles, edging Indonesian Magdalena Angeline Ticoalu, 7-5, to win the Philippines second gold in billiards and snooker.

Benjie Tolentino added the menís lightweight sculls to his double lightweight sculls earlier in turning back his better-trained Thai and Indonesian rivals with a time of 7:12.02.

The twin feats were the only events that glowed on a gloomy day as the Philippine contingent, which struck 11 the other day, felt the weight of the competition in practically all fronts.

The Philippine camp remained hopeful it could get one from world wushu champion Willy Wang who was leading in the three combined events of nanquan with a score of 9.10.

The Philippines remained at fourth place overall with a tally of 16-25-43 gold-silver-bronze medals behind Thailand (65-58-40), Vietnam (26-13-38) and Singapore (21-19-40).

At least the Philippines was gaining headway in the team events in various sports which end in the next two days.

In squash, Robert Andrew Garcia assured himself of at least a bronze after a hard-fought 9-6, 9-3, 10-8 win over Thai Apirom Na Nakorn. He was to meet second seed Keon Elvinn Jinn Chung of Malaysia in the semis last night.

The rugby team, composed mainly of Fil-foreigners crushed Laos, 40-0, but bowed to Singapore, 17-22 in the second game of the elimination.

The RP Blu Boys got off to a big start in softball, halting Thailand, 10-6, behind a barrage of six hits in the six-nation competition where the top four advance to the semifinals.

In lawn tennis, Fil-American Cecil Mamiit crushed Raslan Rawi of Malaysia, 6-1, 6-1, and stepped into the quarterfinal round of the menís singles where he is seeded second. Top seed is Thai Danai Udomchoke.

In womenís singles, Denise Matias also advanced by beating Dala Nilaxay of Laos, 6-1, 6-2.

In futsal, a seven-aside indoor football competition, the Philippines crashed out with two losses in Group A. It lost to Thailand, 0-14, and Malaysia, 4-8. It was to fight Myanmar in its farewell game last night.

In artistic gymnastics, the Philippines finished seventh and last as Kristine R. Saguisag competed as a one-woman entry with a total of 12.950 points, way below the 212.250 team total of first-placed Singapore.

Saguisag, still mourning the death of her mom Dulce, secretary general of the gymnastics association, had a knee injury in training a week before the SEA Games. She did not compete in the vault and uneven bars, fearing she might re-injure her knee in landing. She scored 11.750 in the beam and 1.200, the lowest, in the floor exercises.

Volleybelles Michelle Laborte and Michella Carolino lost to the tough Thai pair of Tempaksee USA and Sannoh Jarunee, 21-13, 21-11, and evened their win-loss score at 1-1 in Pool B of the womenís beach volleyball.

Dianne Pascua and Heidi Ilustre won their frist assignment against Malaysia, 21-11, 21-11 in Pool A.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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