Unforgettable moments for Team Philippines in the 30th SEA Games

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Unforgettable moments for Team Philippines in the 30th SEA Games
Team Philippines had a successful campaign in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Philstar.com / Luisa Morales / Erwin Cagadas / Efigenio Toledo IV

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines capped off a historic hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games on Wednesday with the closing ceremonies in New Clark City.

Filled with entertainment and excitement, the country closed the curtains on the biennial meet to the tunes of international music act Black Eyed Peas and a spectacular drone show.

After almost two straight weeks of sports action in the country, let's look back at some of Team Philippines' most memorable moments of the SEA Games:

1. Philippines captures general championship after drought

After years of falling short in their performance in the SEA Games, Team Philippines was finally able to clinch the general championship again after 14 years.

Surpassing their gold medal output in the 2017 SEA Games in just Day Two of this year's edition, the Philippines was poised to finish with a historic medal haul.

The Philippine bets were in the lead from the get-go, with a whopping 387 medals in the final medal tally, 149 of which are gold.

2. Gilas squads rule SEA Games hoops

It was an almost perfect run for our Gilas Pilipinas men's and women's squad in the Southeast Asian Games.

The basketball squads swept all gold medals in the biennial event, winning both the 3x3 and 5x5 crowns in men's and women's category.

The Filipinos won all their matches leading to the championship save for one loss for the Gilas belles against Thailand, 20-22 in the 3x3 preliminaries.

But the Filipinas were able to exact revenge on the Thais in the Finals to clinch the double gold.

In 5x5 hoops, the Gilas men reasserted dominance with their 13th straight crown while the women scored a breakthrough over Thailand for their first-ever gold medal.

3. Hero surfer Roger Casugay

Perhaps one of the biggest stories of the SEA Games was of hero surfer Roger Casugay, who sacrificed his bid for a gold medal to save his Indonesian opponent from drowning.

Drawing praise from none other than Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Casugay's act transcends all competitive success.

Casugay went on to win his own gold medal later on while also being the epitome of the Games' tagline "We Win As One".

4. Efren "Bata" Reyes flexes skills at 65

Filipino billiards legend Efren "Bata" Reyes is still ruling his sport at the age of 65.

Clinching a bronze medal for the Philippines in the one-cushion carom event, Reyes proved that age is just a number.

Despite falling to a world champion opponent, Reyes continues to make his mark in the sport.

5. Bagunas, Espejo and company dethrone Thailand in men's volleyball

Led by Bryan Bagunas and Mark Espejo, the Philippine men's volleyball took an emphatic upset over five-peat seeking Thailand to enter the gold medal match.

Ending a 42-year drought of missing out on the Finals, Team Philippines shook the whole volleyball community in the region.

While they fell short of the top prize to Indonesia, the men's squad certainly made some noise for themselves.

6. Olympians reign supreme

Olympics-bound Carlos Yulo and Ej Obiena ruled their respective events in the biennial event.

Gymnast darling Yulo finished the Games with a total of seven medals to his name, two of which were gold.

Obiena, meanwhile, ruled the pole vault event and set a new SEA Games record after clearing 4.45m.

2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz also clinched her first-ever SEA Games gold medal this year after dominating the women's 55kg event.

7. Team Philippines resets records

Apart from Obiena's pole vault record, a number of other Filipino bets set new record times in the SEA Games.

Kristina Knott smashed the 200-m dash record not one, but twice in the same day clocking in a SEA Games best 23.01 seconds.

She also surpassed the eight-month Philippine record of Fil-Canadian Zion Corrales-Nelso who was the first to eclipse a 33-year-old record from legend Lydia de Vega.

Swimmers James Deiparine and Jasmine Alkhaldi also surpassed records in their SEA Games bid.

Deiparine smashed the national and SEA Games records in the 100m breastroke, he also ended a 10-year drought of gold medals for the Philippine team.

Meanwhile, Alkhaldi reset her own national record twice and while missing out on a gold medal, she moved a step closer to qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the 100m freestyle.

8. Pinoys rule debuting esports, skateboarding

Philippine bets also flexed their athletic prowess in debuting sports in the biennial meet.

For the first time ever, esports and skateboarding were medal sports in the SEA Games.

SIBOL, the Philippine esports team, capped a total of four medals in the competition.

Meanwhile, Asian Games gold medalist Margielyn Didal clinched two first place finishes in SEA Games skateboarding.

Compatriots Christiana Means, Daniel Ledermann, Jericho Francisco and Renzo Mark Feliciano also added to the Philippines medal haul with podium finishes of their own.

All in all, it was the most successful runs of the Philippines in the SEA Games, and what better way than to do it in front of a sellout home crowd.

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