by Rey Bancod
KUALA LUMPUR – The Philippines swept the 9-ball pool singles as expected and added gold each in taekwondo and judo Sunday going into the last four days of the 29th Southeast Asian Games.
Chezka Centeno and Carlo Biado defended their titles in billiards, Samuel Morrison repeated as taekwondo champion and rookie Mariya Takahashi pulled off a huge upset in judo.
Olympian Michael Christian Martinez settled for second place in men’s figure skating, one of three silvers collected.
Overall, the Philippines now has 22 golds, 28 silvers and 52 bronzes.
The first gold came from the pool table when Centeno made it two in a row over former world champion Rubilen Amit in their women’s 9-ball pool singles final.
Centeno, an 18-year-old prodigy from Zamboanga City, trailed by two after eight racks, rallied to tie the match twice and got a huge break in the decisive 13th rack when Rubi scratched.
With the game reaching hill-hill, Rubi broke and started to clean up the open table.
Taking aim at the seventh ball, the 36-year-old veteran watched in horror when the cue ball ended up inside the pocket.
With ball in hand, Centeno sent the remaining two balls home to capture the country’s 19th gold medal at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center Hall.
Late in the evening, World Games gold medalist Carlo Biado outclassed Duong Quoc Hoang of Vietnam, 9-5, to complete the sweep.
Biado avenged the defeat of Johann Chua in the semifinals. Chua took the bronze.
In taekwondo, Morrison defended his lightweight title in taekwondo, but two teammates fell in their respective divisions to settle for the silver and bronze.
Morrison outclassed Dinggo Ardian of Indonesia in the final after clobbering Ly Hong Phuc of Vietnam in the semifinals.
However, Arven Alcantara, fighting in the featherweight final, lost a narrow decision over Rozaimi Rozali of Malaysia.
Meanwhile, defending lightweight titlist Pauline Lopez was stunned by Ha Thi Nguyen of Vietnam in the semifinals and settled for the bronze.
Mariya Takahashi gave the country its second gold in judo following a 1-0 win over four-time champion Surattana T. of Thailand in the women’s 70kg division.
Sydney Sy took the bronze in the men’s 78kg after humbling Chatthayporn P. Thailand in the repechage bout.
In rhythmic gymnastics, Shieldannah Sabio brought home the bronze in the women’s Group Final (single apparatus) with a score of 10.65. Malaysian Chan Mei Thung (16.05) and Singapore’s Jael Chew (14.4) won the silver and bronze, respectively.
In the women’s all-around event in rhythmic gymnastics, Arielle Orella and Mary Andrea Canter ended up in the bottom of the standings in eighth and ninth places, respectively.
Orella finished with 9.8 points while Canter earned 5.2 points.
Malaysian Koi Sie Yan topped the event with 16.6 points followed by Thai Panjarat P. (14.2).
In lawn bowls, Elmer Abatayo nipped Abd Rahman Omar of Brunei, 21-20, to seize the bronze in men’s singles.
In waterski and wakeboard, Emerson Villana and Lester Troy Tayong collected the bronze in the men’s International 470.
In squash, the Philippines swept two matches to reach the semifinals in the team event.
In the women’s division, Jemyca Aribado, Isabelle Gotuaco and Yvonne Alyssa Dali defeated Thailand, 2-1.
In men’s play, David William Peli, Juan Rafael Yam and Reymark Begonia shut out Myanmar, 3-0.
The Philippines lost three matches in badminton.
Alyssa Leonardo and Alvin Morada bowed to Sapsiree T. and Dechapol P. of Thailand, 0-2, in mixed doubles; Sarah Joy Barredo bowed to Pornpawee C., 0-2.