By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Gymnast Carlos Yulo lived up to his lofty billing and kurash athlete Jackielou Escarpe did not disappoint as the two provided Team Philippines a reason to rejoice on Friday the 13th in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.
The two-time world champion Yulo bucked a slip in the pommel horse to top the men’s artistic gymnastics individual all-around, amassing 85.150 points in six apparatus.
In clinching his first gold, Yulo beat hometown bets Le Thanh Tung (84.050) and Dinh Phuong Thanh (82.450), who settled for the silver and bronze, respectively.
He also helped power the PH 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.
The PH squad of Yulo tallied 301.600 behind Vietnam’s 331.250.
Escarpe, meanwhile, beat Thailand’s Apicha Boonrangsee, 1-0, to rule the men’s -73kg gold medal two days after Francine Padios of pencak silat won the first gold.
Wushu artist Jones Llabres Inso missed the gold medal by the skin of his teeth even as Filipino rowers settled for three more bronzes.
A silver medal winner in the 2019 edition, Inso appeared relaxed and confident of winning the gold this time after posting 9.70 points.
But to his disappointment, Malaysian Zhi Yan Tan, who was last to take the stage, produced an impeccable showing and got 9.71 points for the gold medal, leaving PH officials broken-hearted.
Juan Kai Chan of Singapore settled for bronze with 9.57 points while two-time SEAG champion and Asian Games silver winner Daniel Parantac fell to seventh place with 9.26 points.
Filipino rowers, meanwhile, fell short of landing a gold medal in the penultimate day of competition after settling for third in three team events at the Thuy Nguyen Hai Phong Aquatics Center.
Edgar Ilas, Roque Abala Jr., Zuriel Sumintac and Joachim De Jesus clocked 7 minutes and 11 seconds in the lightweight coxless four; Joanie Delgaco, Kharl Julianne Sha, Feiza Jane Lenton and Alyssa Go timed 7:30.14 in the lightweight women’s quadruple sculls; and CJ Jasmin, Van Maxilom, Athens Tolentino, EJ Obaña posted 6:46.84 in the men’s quadruple sculls.
But it’s not yet over for the PH rowers as Tokyo Olympian Cris Nievarez is determined to retain his men’s lightweight single sculls crown.
In volleyball, the Filipina spikers swept Malaysia, 25-14, 25-20, 25-15, to jumpstart their medal bid at the Quang Ninh Gymnasium.
The Nationals controlled the tempo the match anchored on Mylene Paat, Alyssa Valdez, Jaja Santiago and Ces Molina en route to their first win in the round-robin preliminaries.
But their worth will be tested when they clash with powerhouse Thailand on Saturday.
The men’s 3×3 team composed of Brandon Rosser, Jorey Napoles, Marvin Hayes and Reymar Caduyac recovered from a shaky start to down Cambodia’s Johnathan So, Alanadongpalyo Khou, Michael Seng and Richard Hu, 19-7, in the men’s division.
They followed it up with a 21-16 win over the Thais before absorbing a shock 15-3 defeat to Indonesians.
Afril Bernardino, Janine Pontejos, Clare Castro and Angel Surada, for their part, clobbered Cambodia’s Sima Suon, Jasmine Kong and siblings Sidtia and Tianna Sidtikun-Phe in the distaff side, 21-5.
But they suffered a stunning 21-18 loss to host Vietnam.