As the dust settled in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, the Philippines bagged 149 gold medals to win the overall championship.
Though still 34 golds away from the all-time record set by Thailand back in 2007, the host was able to win 36 more than the 2005 team –the last time the Philippines won the general championship in the biennial meet.
But who were the closest to winning gold number 150? Well, Tiebreaker Times took a look at the close calls and the heartbreaking losses.
Men’s Water Polo Team
Entering the penultimate day of the tournament, defending, 27-time champion Singapore was reeling. It had just absorbed a 7-5 loss to Indonesia just a day before.
On the other hand, the Philippine Men’s National Water Polo Team opened their campaign with a 6-6 draw against the Indonesians. And the two squads were neck-and-neck for gold.
The Philippines needed to either win by more than three goals or win by two goals and score beyond seven. And during the game itself, the host led by as much as four goals.
However, the Singaporeans were able to end the game with a 6-6 draw to basically give Indonesia gold.
Ryan Jakiri – Muaythai
December 8, 2019 — Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center
Coming off a bronze medal finish in the 2017 SEA Games, Ryan Jakiri was a man on a mission.
The 27-year-old muaythai artist blasted Indonesia’s Irvan Putra in the semis to punch his ticket in the finale.
And in the gold medal match, Jakiri was dominant against Thailand’s Norapat Khundam, beating his opponent at his own game in the first round.
However, controversy ensued in the second round.
With 1:26 left in the second stanza, Jakiri was caught in a plum by his opponent. A knee by the Thai knocked down the Filipino.
Though he was able to get back up, the referee decided to wave the match off handing Khundam the gold medal.
“‘Di ko nagustuhan ‘yung pag-stoppage sa’ kin kasi wala pang eight counts, inistop niya na ‘yung laban. Eh nagpapahinga muna ako kasi may eight counts. ‘Di pa sya umabot ng eight counts!” rued Jakiri, who was able to get back up.
“Hindi siya nakatingin sa ‘kin. Hindi niya ako tinatanong kung kaya ko pa o hindi.”
Despite the association’s protests, the result can no longer be overturned.
Carter Lilly — Athletics (800m)
Carter Lilly was well on his way of doing what compatriots Mervin Guarte and Marco Vilog could not do over the last two SEA Games, stop Dương Văn Thái in the 800m run.
The 24-year-old was well ahead of the Vietnamese. Well, until he slowed down in the final stretch of the race.
Close to the finish line, the Vietnamese made a mad dash, eventually swinging his left elbow into Lilly’s gut and causing him to stumble.
Thái ended up winning his second medal of the Games, his third straight in the event, with a time of one minute and 49.91 seconds — 0.26 split-seconds ahead of Lilly.
Though frustrated moments after the race, Lilly shared that the collision he and Thai ended up figuring in was part of the game.
“It’s part of the race. It happens.”
Remedy Rule — Swimming (200m butterfly)
Moments after James Deiparine ended the Philippines’ 10-year gold drought in the SEA Games, Remedy Rule almost doubled it up. But she literally missed gold via a fingernail.
Rule rallied furiously as she tried to catch up to Singapore’s Quah Jing Wen. However, the 23-year-old Filipina-American’s late push was not enough, logging in a national record of two minutes and 10.99 seconds — 0.02 seconds short of Quah’s event-breaking record.
This was the closest race she figured in, eventually ending her ledger with three silvers and two bronzes.
But instead of feeling heartbroken, Rule tried to make light of the loss, quipping:
“I shouldn’t have cut my fingernails the other day.”
Caloy Yulo — Artistic Gymnastics (Vault)
Caloy Yulo ended up with a ledger of two golds and five silvers during his events. But during the vault competition, he almost had his hattrick.
The 19-year-old, Tokyo Olympics-bound gymnast ended up with an average of 14.700 points — just .034 behind gold winner Agus Prayoko of Indonesia.
And one penalty during his first run proved fatal.
During the tail-end of his first performance, Yulo stepped outside during the landing that resulted to a 0.100 penalty. He ended up with a score of 14.633.
If he stuck it, Yulo would have ended up with a 14.799 — good for gold.
Kirstie Alora — Taekwondo
Out of all in this list, none was more heartbreaking than what Kirstie Alora experienced in the gold medal match of the 73-kilogram division of the taekwondo tournament.
Alora and Cambodia’s Seavmey Sorn figured in a 9-9 deadlock after three rounds to send the match to a literal golden round. First clean hit wins.
The 30-year-old Filipina, who competed in the Rio Olympics, went for broke against Sorn, who was six inches taller than her.
But as she went for a strike that would have ended the match and brought home gold, Sorn quickly threw a headkick. Sorn’s strike ended up being the first to hit the sensors to effectively end the match.