World gymnastics champion Carlos Yulo and kurash bet Jack Escarpe gave the Philippines gold medals as action in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam went full blast on Friday.
Yulo was by no means flawless as he bucked a slip in the pommel horse that incurred a penalty. However, the 22-year-old Tokyo Olympian amassed 85.150 points in six apparatuses and captured the individual all-around title, defeating hometown bets Le Thanh Tung (84.050) and Dinh Phuong Thanh (82.450), who snatched the silver and bronze, respectively.
Yulo gave Filipinos their third gold after the victory of Mary Francine Padios in pencak silat last Wednesday and the win of Jack Escarpe in the 73kg class of kurash earlier Friday.
Yulo also led the artistic gymnastics team that included Juancho Miguel Besana, John Matthew Vergara, Jann Gwynn Timbang and Justine Ace de Leon to the silver medal in the team event.
Aside from the three gold medals, the Philippines has also amassed seven silver and nine bronze medals to rank fifth, giving up fourth to Thailand (3-5-11). Vietnam started to pull away from the field with 20 gold, 11 silver and 15 bronze medals, followed by Malaysia (11-5-8) and Indonesia (5-8-1). Singapore and Myanmar also have two gold medals each.
“All I’m thinking is how to perform well and I think we did well,” said Yulo, who advanced to the finals of the vault, where he is the reigning world champion; high bar, parallel bar, pommel horse, rings, and floor exercise on Sunday and Monday.
“It’s not a bad first day at all,” said Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion, who expects Yulo to win at least four gold medals.
“Yeah, we are expecting more, so much more actually,” added Carrion, who kept an eagle eye on the manual scoring of the judges in lieu of computerized scoring.
Meanwhile, over at the Thanh Tri Gymnasium, the Philippines’ 3×3 men and women’s 3×3 teams suffered shocking upsets and will now need to go unbeaten in their games on Saturday.
The Gilas men’s squad of Brandon Ganuelas-Rosser, Marvin Hayes, Jorey Napoles and Raymar Caduyac beat Cambodia 19-7 and Thailand 21-16 but sputtered against Indonesia and dropped a 13-15 decision.
The Gilas women’s squad found a roadblock in its title-retention bid as they fell to Vietnam, 21-18. The foursome of Janine Pontejos, Afril Bernardino, Clare Castro and Angelica Surada, who started the day with a convincing 21-5 win over Cambodia, also lost to Thailand 14-21.
Teen tennis sensation Alex Eala made her SEA Games debut by helping the national women’s team beat Malaysia and into the semifinals.
Jones Inso won a silver medal in the men’s taijiquan event of wushu at the Cau Gias Sporting Hall with a score of 9.70 points, losing the gold to Malaysian Zhi Yan Tan, the last of the nine participants, who scored 9.71 points.
In golf, the country’s bets in the women’s division—Rianne Malixi , Rafaela Singson and Lois Kaye Go—carded identical 76s at the Heron Lake Course and stood nine shots behind early leader Eila Galitsky of Thailand, who shot 67.
Gabriel Thomas Manotoc, John Edward Dy and Ethan Hernandez all scored 74 while Kristoffer Arevalo carded 78 in the men’s class, where Weerawish Narkprachar of Thailand led with a 68.