[PHOTO AT LEFT - Mhark Fernando gropes for form in the second round of SEA Games golf event Saturday. The menís team stayed at fourth place. JUN MENDOZA VIENTIANE, Laos]

VIENTIANE, LAOS, DECEMBER 13, 2009 (STAR) By Gerry Carpio - Fil-Americans Cecil Mamiit and Treat Huey fought through the mounting pressures of the marathon duel that lasted just before midnight and gained the countryís lone gold for the day with a 2-1 win over Thailand in the menís team tennis competition of the 25th Southeast Asian Games yesterday at the tennis center of the National University.

Mamiit and Huey hacked out a 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-4) victory over the Thai pair of Sonchat and Sanchai Ratiwatana to win the deciding match of the best-of-three final showdown.

Huey earlier defeated Kittiphong Wachiramanowong, 1-6, 6-1, 7-5, in the first singles. Mamiit lost to long-time rival Danai Udomchoke, 6-4, 6-2, in the second singles, forcing the doubles match for the gold.

The win was a big relief for the embattled Philippine camp, which earlier in the day had struggled for 16 hours looking for gold that never came.

From the time the golfers teed off at the SEA Games golf course outside the city to the time the cue artists made their final shots at the Don Chan Hotel by the Mekong River, the Filipinos had only three silver and six bronze medals to show from 27 gold medal events before Mamiit, the 2005 and 2007 SEA Games gold medalist, and Huey, competing for the first time in the SEA Games, broke through at the end of the day.

The gold medals were missed by NiŮo Carag in the 1m springboard in diving, Ė John Paul Lizardo (finweight) and Jyra Lizardo (flyweight) in taekwondo and Ryan Arabejo in the 400m freestyle in swimming.

The tennis gold was the eighth for the Philippines as it climbed past host Laos to sixth in the standings with the dayís final tally of 8-14-15 gold-silver-bronze medals.

Vietnam was leading the medal race with 20-17-19 followed by Thailand 18-24-29, Singapore 18-8-16, Malaysia 15-16-24, Indonesia 13-13-20 and Laos 8-4-16.

The other bright note on a disappointing day for Team Philippines was the towering performance of Annie Albania, Alice Kate Apparri and Josie Gabuco in the preliminaries of boxing, but their road to the gold medal round wouldnít be easy with the Thai boxers in their path.

The muay thai bets, who already earned four bronze medals, at least sent four to todayís gold medal round. Roland Claro who defeated Aye Ko Ko of Myanmar, faces local hero Soukanh in the flyweight (45 kg), while Jonathan Polosan, the Princess Cup Thailand gold medalist in 2008, defeated Vo Van of Vietnam, and now battles fancied Woorapon Kwangkhwang of Thailand for the gold.

The lady golfers were running second to Thailand after the opening round, but the menís team was running fourth behind Thailand, Singapore and Myanmar at the halfway mark.

The taekwondo jins closed out their SEAG stint with 4-4-4 gold-silver-bronze medals, the most by the 253 or so national athletes who were sent here separately by the Philippine Sports Commission (151) and the Philippine Olympic Committee (98).

The taekwondo gold came from Olympians Tshomlee Go (featherweight) Mary Antonette Rivero (welterweight), Alexander Briones (heavyweight), and the poomsae team of Carla Lagman, Rani Ann Ortega and Francesca Alarilla.

The silver medals were won by Eunice Alora (bantamweight), John Paul Lizardo (finweight), Kirstie Alora (heavyweight) and Marlone Avenido (welterweight), while the bronze medalists were Jeffrey Figueroa (bantamweight), Jyra Lizardo (flyweight), Jean Sabido and Ortega in the poomsae mixed pair, and the menís poomsae team of Anthony Matias and Sabido brothers Brian and Jean.

Ace Eso, the last man standing, earned the last medal of the karatedo team Ė a bronze Ė at the close of the Karatedo competitions.

Eso, who drew a bye in the semifinals, lost to Vietnamese Phan Hoai Long and settled for the bronze in the six-man field.

The karatedo team finished with one gold, courtesy of Marna Pabillore in the 55 kg class, two silver medals from Lutche Metante (68 kg) and Rolando Lagman (97kg) and three bronze medals from Noel Espinosa (Individual kata), Eso and the menís kumite team.

Four bronze medals were won in the new sport of muay thai by Preciosa Ocaya in the flyweight (48kg), Maricel Subang in the light flyweight (45kg), May Libao in the pinweight (42kg) and Harold Gregorio in the welterweight (63.5 kg).

In tennis competition, Treat Huey defeated

Zaid Laruan, who topped Ly Huang Tan of Vietnam in the lightweight (57kg), goes up against Vixay of Laos, while Ana Marie Rey takes on Phan Thi Ngoc Lin of Vietnam in the semifinals of the bantamweight (51 kg yesterday).

Miguel Molina, the 2005 and 2007 most outstanding athlete, underscored his status as the most prolific swimmer of the Games as he retained his titles in the 400m IM and 200m IM. The swimming team gained silver medals from Charles Walker in the 100m freestyle, Arabejo in the 200m backstroke and 400m freestyle, and the menís 400m individual medley.

The menís team was playing the deciding doubles match in its gold-medal showdown with Thailand late last night. Treat Huey won the first singles but Fil-American Cecil Mamiit lost to top Thai netter Danai Odomchoke.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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