THE Philippines shattered Brunei's hopes of clinching another bronze medal at the 25th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games with a 2-1 victory in the men's doubles of the sepak takraw competition yesterday at the Lao International Trade and Exibition Convention Centre here.
Brunei's team of Ismail Ang, Mohd Shukri Hainen and Nur Alimin Sunggoh put up a strong challenge to win the first set 21-18 but the Philippine squad of Junmark Aleta, Gene Mark Saavedra and Metodio Suico Junior got their act together to clinch the second set 21-19.
The Philippines sustained their momentum in the third set where they took a 4-0 lead but Brunei rallied
to close in at 3-4. The Philippines stepped up, staging an 8-2 run to take a 12-5 advantage. Brunei fought back with a 4-2 run to make it 9-14 but the Philippines defended well in the next play to join Myanmar in the semi-finals.
Myanmar's Aung Cho Myinth, Si Thu Lin and Zaw Lat outclassed Cambodia's Chin Sovannarith, Ream Sopherom and Nang Sopheap 21-6, 21-5 to post their second straight win in Group B.
In Group A, Laotians Thittavanh Bounpaseuth, Champion Somsamaivong and Vilaysack Nanthavo turned back Vietnam's Tran Quang Khai, Le Tien Dung and Lieu Ba Tung 21-23, 21-17, 15-12 as both teams advanced to the semi-final round with identical 2-1 win-loss records.
"It was a close match. We played good but the Philippines played better, especially in the third set. Our players did their best," said Brunei's coach Ittiphol Komchaisak, who hails from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Brunei were in control during the early part of the second set when they led 6-2 before the Philippines rallied to tie the scores at 11-all.
The Bruneians capitalised on their opponents' errors to take the upperhand at 15-14. The Philippines regained their fighting form to grab the lead at 16-15 but the Bruneians tied the score at 18-18 when the Philippines made a service error.
After winning the next two points at 20-18, the Philippines committed an error that allowed Brunei to move within 19-20. The Philippines won the next point to force the extra set.
The loss, however, did not dampen the spirit of the Brunei delegation who are expected to get a hero's welcome when they come home on Dec 21 with one gold, one silver and eight bronze medals.
Chef de mission Hj Muhd Zamri Dato Paduka Hj Hamdani had earlier described the delegation's achievement as a big success.
"I can say that getting eight bronze medals is a big success because we were able to surpass our medal output in the last SEA Games in Thailand," said Hj Muhd Zamri on Tuesday.
Brunei won one gold, one silver and four bronze medals in Korat two years ago.
The pencak silat team had the best performance here, winning one gold and three bronze medals.
Hj Md Khairul Bahrin Hj Duraman delivered the Sultanate's only gold when he topped the men's tunggal event.
The bronze winners were Amirul Ahat in the men's Class A 45kg-50kg division, Freddy Ashrul Choo in the men's Class G 75kg-80kg division and Khuzaiman Ahmad in the men's Class D 60kg-65kg division.
Wushu gave Brunei their lone silver coming from Faustina Woo Wai Shii and Lee Ying Shi in the women's Duilian (doubles broadsword and spear) event.
Woo and Lee, bronze medallists in the 3rd Asian Indoor Games, garnered 9.45 points in the women's Duilian (doubles broadsword and spear) event to share the silver medal with Vietnam's Vu Tra My and Vu Thuy Linh, who also got the same score from the panel of judges.
Wushu also got one bronze in the men's Duilian (spear and wrestling cudgel) event after twins Isa and Ismi Bismi scored 9.20 points to finish in a tie with Malaysia's Ng Say Yoke and Yeap Wai Kin for third place.
The karate-do squad turned in four bronze medals to the delight of head coach Okhida Simangasing and team manager Hj Sayed Mohammed Hj Sayed Othman.
The bronze medallists were Md Jamil Hj Abd Hamid (men's 84kg and above), Mainuddin Hj Mohammad (men's 84kg and below), Mohammad Fadillah Hj Sanif (men's 67kg and below) and Masdiana Hj Tengah (women's 50kg and below).
Masdiana's medal was inspiring as she had to fight with a rib injury.
"My biggest motivation was to win a medal," said the 28-year-old Masdiana after duplicating her effort in the 2007 edition held in Korat, Thailand.
"I tried not to think about the pain, my focus is to win," said Masdiana, who failed to bring home a medal during her stints in Kuala Lumpur (2001) and Manila (2005).
The karate-do team trained for one month in Vietnam and two weeks in Surabaya as part of their preparation for the SEA Games.
In cue sports, His Royal Highness Prince Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, and Teo Chee Soon lost in the preliminary round of the men's nine-ball doubles event. They both lost their preliminary round assignments in the singles event.
In athletics, Md Yazid Yatimi Yusof finished sixth among seven entries in the men's discus throw but he was able to improve on his personal best.
Md Yazid registered 43.29 metres to better the 41.82m he posted to win the bronze at the 2007 Korat SEA Games.
In taekwondo, newcomer Mohd Fathullah Mohd Taib was eliminated by Singapore's Jason Tan in the quarter-final round of the men's finweight category.
Courtesy from Brunei Times