Five kickboxers added to Team Philippines’ gold medal bonanza on Day 3 of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.

Veteran fighters led by Clemente Tabugara Jr. and Jessie Aligaga were among five local bets who dominated the sanda (Chinese kickboxing) event at the close of the two-day wushu meet yesterday at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

5 kickboxers kick in gold bonanza for PH
GOLD FLIPSIDE. Divine Wally wins another gold for the Philippines against Vietnamese opponent Thi Chinh Nguyen in the Wu Shu event. Revoli Cortez

Tabugara, Aligaga, Francisco Solis and Arnel Mandal delivered gold medals in the men’s division while Divine Wally claimed a fifth in the women’s side.

Agatha Wong, a 19-year-old student from the College of St. Benilde, added another in the taolu-taijiquan, and her effort hiked the Philippines’ haul in wushu to six for the day.

5 kickboxers kick in gold bonanza for PH
GOLD FLIPSIDE. Agatha Chrytenzen Wong of the Philippines performing a Women’s Taijijian—straight two-edged sword used in the training of the Chinese martial art Taijiquan—wins gold in the Southeast Asian Games, with a final score of 9.65 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. Lino Santos 

Because of this, the Philippines took the lead in wushu with seven golds, two silvers, and two bronzes, with Vietnam (3-2-7) taking second and Indonesia in third (2-5-2).

The huge effort from wushu saw the Philippines move comfortably ahead in the overall medal race with 47 golds, 25 silvers and 16 bronzes.

Other gold medal winners include gymnast Carlos Yulo, who picked up his second gold medal in the floor exercises, two fighters in arnis, Mary Allyn Aldeguer and Cris Samuel Delfin in the women’s and men nontraditional open weapon class.

5 kickboxers kick in gold bonanza for PH
GOLD FLIPSIDE. Carlos Yulo grabs another gold for the Philippines in Men’s Gymnastics-Artistic Floor Exercise at the Rizal Coliseum. Lino Santos

Team Pilipinas chef de mission and Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez was upbeat about the Philippines’ onslaught.

“We are riding on this positive wave and continue to hope that we can sustain this good performance. Our deputy chefs de mission have been doing the rounds in their respective clusters to ensure that all requirements of our team are met and that they are given moral, logistical, medical and technical support,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez hopes that Team Philippines will be able to continue to reign in the coming days.

“We still have many days of battle ahead of us, but I remain steadfast in my belief in our national team. I know that they are intent on delivering pride and honor for the country,” said Ramirez.

Meanwhile, the Philippines launches its quest for a fifth straight gold medal and 18th overall Wednesday when it battles Singapore as the much-awaited basketball competitions get going at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Vietnam, Myanmar, Singapore and the Philippines have been drawn to compete in Group A while Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia are in Group B.

Defending champion Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines are disputing the women’s title.

Bernie Atienza, SEA Games basketball competition manager, said the basketball games will be held as scheduled, one of the disciplines that have not been affected by Typhoon “Tisoy.”

“We are ready for it,” said Atienza, also the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas deputy secretary general.

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