SINGAPORE: Former women’s boxing world champion Josie Gabuco claimed her fourth straight SEA Games gold medal on Wednesday as Vietnam took two of the other three titles on offer.
Gabuco, the first Filipina to win gold at the women’s world boxing championships in 2012, took a unanimous decision against Thailand’s Chuthamat Raksat in the light flyweight finals.
The 28-year-old’s experience proved telling as she outboxed her opponent, the 2014 world championships bronze medalist, in the last two rounds.
The victory saw Gabuco maintain her winning run in the regional competition following gold medals at Vientiane in 2009, Jakarta in 2011 and Naypyidaw two years ago.
“I’m very happy and I’m very grateful for this. Thanks to God for giving me another opportunity to get another gold medal at the SEA Games,” said Gabuco, who is hoping to earn a spot at next year’s Olympics.
“It was hard for me. My opponent is a good boxer who has done well in a lot of competitions. But maybe my experience was important because I have almost 12 years of boxing and I can see the weaknesses and strengths of my opponents.
“It’s nice to win this though especially after last year which was not good for me as I lost all of my competitions—the world championships, the Asian Games and the China Open.”
While there was joy for Gabuco, there was disappointment for her compatriots Irish Magno and Nesthy Petecio after they lost to Vietnamese boxers in their finals.
Magno lost a split flyweight decision to 2013 runner-up Nguyen Thi Yen, while Petecio had the same result against Le Thi Bang at bantamweight—her third straight SEA Games silver.
Thailand’s Tassamalee Thongjan won featherweight gold after she defeated Indonesia’s Christina Jembay by unanimous decision in the finals.
Cray breaks 20-year old record
Meanwhile, Filipino-American Eric Shauwn Cray continued to deliver for the Philippines as he broke the 20-year-old record in the men’s 400-meter hurdles on Wednesday in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games athletics competition at the Singapore National Stadium.
Cray submitted 49.40 seconds to erase the 49.76-second old mark of Chanon Kaenchan of Thailand registered in the 1995 edition held in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Vietnam’s Quanch Cong Lich placed second with 50.29 while Indonesia’s Andrian Andrian wound up third with 51.36.
It was Cray’s second gold medal after ruling the 100m dash on Tuesday.
Boxing also fulfilled its promise as Gabuco, Ian Clark Bautista and Mario Fernandez claimed gold medals in their respective divisions.
Bautista posted a 2-1 split decision win over Mohamed Hanurdeen Hamid of Indonesia for the men’s flyweight crown while Fernandez scored a technical knockout over Tanes Ongjunta of Thailand to win the men’s bantamweight title.
Irish Magno (women’s flyweight), Nesthy Petecio (women’s bantamweight), Rogen Ladon (men’s light flyweight) settled for silver medals while Wilfredo Lopez (men’s middleweight) and Riza Pasuit (women’s featherweight) won bronze medals.
In softball, the Philippines ruled the men and women’s division after toppling their respective foes in the finals. The Blu Boys survived the gritty Indonesian side (6-4) while the Blu Girls notched an easy 3-0 win over the Thais.
In billiards, Dennis Orcollo outclassed Maung Maung of Myanmar, 9-5, to rule the men’s 9-Ball pool singles at the OCBC Arena Hall 4.
“Medyo sinuwerte, kasi magaling yong kalaban. Medyo masama lang kamada sa umpisa,” said the 36-year-old Surigao del Norte pride.
So far, the billiards team has three golds, one silver and five bronzes.
Warren Kiamco and Carlo Biado topped the men’s 9-Ball pool doubles and 15-year-old Chezka Centeno dominated the women’s 9-Ball pool singles. Rubilen Amit bagged the women’s 9-Ball pool singles silver while the bronzes were delivered by Biado (men’s 9-Ball pool singles), Francisco Dela Cruz (men’s cusion carom), Efren Bata Reyes (men’s cusion carom), Michael Mengorio (men’s snooker singles), and Mengorio and Alvin Barbero (men’s snooker doubles).
In volleyball, the Power Pinays absorbed a 22-25, 20-25, 14-25 loss to the Indonesians led by Aprilia Manganang, whose gender was the subject of a Philippine protest.
So far, the Philippines has 19 golds, 20 silvers and 31 bronzes (as of 5 p.m.) to improve to fifth place in the medal tally behind host Singapore (54-48-61), Thailand (42-29-38), Vietnam (40-19-41) and Malaysia (25-27-34). Indonesia fell to sixth with 18-24-42.