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Tiebreaker Times

32nd SEA Games

The four heartbreaks that would have given Team PH 60 SEAG golds

By Aeron Valderrama and Lorenzo del Carmen

When Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino took the podium during the new cycle of the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday, the sports executive shared that despite the gallant stand put up by Team Pilipinas, they were two short of expectations.

“Sayang. I was really looking at 60 golds for our athletes,” said Tolentino.

The Philippines ended up with a total of 260 medals — 58 of which were gold.

However, 40 of the 87 medals came “in subjective sports and the outcome ended in the hands of the judges.”

But there were four events that came so close to nabbing gold.

However, a controversial call, a head-scratching decision, an injury, and a ‘paper draw’ cost the Philippines at least four golds.

A 50-50 Call

Women’s Football

May 3

32nd-SEA-Games-Filipinas-vs-Myanmar The four heartbreaks that would have given Team PH 60 SEAG golds 32nd SEA Games Bandwagon Wire Fencing Filipinas Football Karate Vovinam  - philippine sports news


After being hailed as one of the favorites to clinch the gold medal, the Filipinas experienced a harsh reality check with a 1-0 defeat to Myanmar.

The heartbreaking loss came in the 89th minute when Win Theingi Tun converted a penalty awarded hastily by the referee, resulting in a devastating blow to the Filipinas’ hopes of securing the coveted gold medal. Despite registering two subsequent victories, their inferior goal difference against Myanmar prevented them from advancing out of Group A.

To compound the disappointment, Vietnam, whom the Filipinas had triumphed over in their previous match, ultimately emerged as the gold medalist by defeating Myanmar. The turn of events only added salt to the wounds for the Philippine team.

A Paper Draw

Women’s Vovinam – 65kg

May 8

Hergie Bacyadan made significant sacrifices in preparation for the Southeast Asian Games in order to compete in Vovinam’s women’s under-65 kg category. Unfortunately, this weight class was unexpectedly removed from the competition due to the organizers’ failure to meet the required number of participants.

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Despite the setback, Bacyadan, who prefers the pronouns he/him, demonstrated exceptional skill and determination.

In the final, he faced Bui Thi Thao Ngan from Vietnam. The two fighters were evenly matched throughout the normal time and even an extension couldn’t determine a clear winner, resulting in the need for a drawing of lots. Unfortunately, luck favored Bui, who received the winning paper and claimed the gold medal, leaving Bacyadan with the silver.

Following the announcement, Bacyadan and the rest of the officials lodged an appeal against the decision. However, after a 24-hour review, it was confirmed that the silver medal would stand. Bacyadan graciously accepted the outcome, recognizing it as a valuable reward for his journey to Phnom Penh and the efforts he had invested in his training.

Despite the disappointment, Bacyadan’s resilience and sportsmanship shone through, demonstrating the true spirit of an athlete.

A Headscratching Decision

Women’s Kumite – 50kg

May 6

Junna Tsukii was the clear favorite heading into the final of the individual female -50kg kumite event.

After all, she was facing Malaysia’s Chandran Shamalarani — a karateka who she had just beat a few months ago.

Going into the final round of the match, Tsukii was the clear aggressor — going forward until the final buzzer.

However, as the decision was read, it was Shamalarani who was declared the victory. The results read, 3-2.

What hurts more was that there are no protests in world karate. And all the 31-year-old could do was accept the result.

A Heartbreaking Tear

Women’s Foil

May 12

32nd-SEA-Games-Fencing-Sam-Catantan The four heartbreaks that would have given Team PH 60 SEAG golds 32nd SEA Games Bandwagon Wire Fencing Filipinas Football Karate Vovinam  - philippine sports news

(C) Coach Ronald Canlas

The worst heartbreak for Team Pilipinas came in the women’s foil event.

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Sam Catantan, a standout out of Penn State University, was expected to walk through the competition. There was no opponent that could stop her.

Only herself.

And that is what happened heading into the final against Singapore’s Maxine Wong.

During her semis clash against Singaporean Kemei Chung, Catantan hurt left knee.

She was not able to participate in the final, awarding the gold to Wong.

After a diagnosis, Catantan was diagnosed with a partial ACL tear.

She was also not able to compete in the team events where the Philippines also finished with silver.

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