SINGAPORE: Former world champion boxer Josie Gabuco is gunning for a fourth consecutive Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medal after the Filipina reached the women’s light flyweight finals on Monday with a convincing victory over Singapore’s Leona Hui.
The diminutive 28-year-old, who became the first person from her country to win a gold medal at the women’s world championships in 2012, showed her experience as she brushed off Hui’s challenge to win the semifinals bout by an unanimous points decision.
Having won in the pinweight category at Vientiane in 2009 and Jakarta in 2011, and in the light flyweight at Naypyidaw two years ago, Gabuco will now look to claim another SEA Games gold when she takes on Thailand’s Chuthamat Raksat in Wednesday’s final.
However, it could prove to a tough test against the Thai who was a light flyweight bronze medalist at last year’s world championships and beat Vietnam’s Le Thi Ngoc Anh by unanimous decision on Monday.
“It might be one of the biggest challenges of my career so far but I am determined to win a fourth gold medal—for my family, my coach and all of my teammates for their tireless support for me,” said Gabuco.
For Hui, who is boxing at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games for the first time, the opportunity to take on Gabuco was an achievement in itself.
“She’s one of the boxers that I really look up to and it was a privilege and a great experience to step into the ring with her,” said the 29-year-old.
The Philippines will be in the hunt for two more gold medals in women’s boxing on Wednesday after Irish Magno beat defending champion Sopida Saturum of Thailand in the flyweight semi-finals.
And Neshty Petecio, a silver me-dalist at the last two SEA Games, beat Indonesia’s Ester Kalayukin by unanimous decision in the bantamweight category.
Both Filipinas will take on Vietnamese opponents in their finals with Magno meeting Nguyen Thi Yen and Petecio fighting Le Thi Bang.
The women’s featherweight final will be between Indonesia’s Christina Jembay and Tassamalee Thongjan after the pair posted unanimous wins against Riza Pasuit of the Philippines and Myanmar’s Ve Ro Ni Ka on Monday.
Pinay cue masters shine
Meanwhile, Philippine cue masters Rubilen Amit and newcomer Chezka Centeno sealed an all-Filipina finale on Monday in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games women’s 9-ball billiards competition at the OCBC Arena Hall 4 in Singapore.
Amit, the reigning champion, stamped her class over Aung Aye Mi of Myanmar, 7-2, while the 15-year-old Centeno clobbered Siriphat Chitchomnart of Thailand, 7-5, in their respective semifinal matches.
The 33-year-old Amit had an opening round bye then trounced Fathrah Masum of Indonesia in the quarterfinals (7-2) while Centeno ousted Doan Thi Ngoc of Vietnam in the first round (7-4) and Tan Hui Ming of Singapore in the quarterfinals (7-3).
The gold medal match is set at 1 p.m. today.
Two silver and two bronzes were also added from wushu, shooting and billiards and snooker.
Asian Games silver medalist Daniel Parantac, who won a gold in the men’s optional taijijian on Sunday, settled for silver this time in the optional taijiquan after scoring 9.70 points. Singapore’s Lee Tze Yuan bagged the gold (9.71) and Fredy Fredy of Indonesia took the bronze (9.69).
Shooters Elvie Baldivino, Franchetta Shayne Quiroz and Carmen Guillermo chipped in one silver from the women’s precision pistol team event while cue masters Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes (men’s cushion carom) and Michael Mengorio (men’s snooker singles) got one bronze each.
So far, the Philippines has six golds, 10 silvers and 18 bronzes for seventh place.
Singapore is still leading with 31-23-42 followed by Vietnam (23-9-29), Thailand (22-26-23), Indonesia (13-13-21), Malaysia (12-18-19) and Myanmar (7-10-15).
Besides Parantac, the other Filipino gold medalists were Maria Claire Adorna and Nikko Huelgas (triathlon), Carlo Biado and Warren Kiamco (men’s 9-ball doubles), Kiyomi Wanatabe (judo women’s 57-63 kgs.), and the men’s rugby team.
Meanwhile, the highly-touted national track and field squad will be gunning for medals today with hammer thrower Caleb John Christian Stuart and pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena spearheading the campaign of the squad at the Singapore National Stadium.
Caleb joins Arniel Ferrera in the men’s hammer throw scheduled at 9:30 a.m. while Obiena hits the field at 4:05 p.m.
Also shooting for medals are Filipino-American Eric Shauwn Cray (men’s 100m), Kayla Richardson and Princess Griffey (women’s 100m), Jesson Ramil Cid and Janry Ubas (men’s decathlon), and Mark Harry Diones (men’s triple jump).