It has been two days after the SEAG has been concluded with a bang: strong performances from the Black Eyes Peas and Arnel Pineda of the band Journey and a performance high of 385 medal tally from the Philippine contingent, the euphoria and pride is still felt throughout the nation, superseding the 291 medal tally in 2005. And from the athletes who have proudly represented the country, the Cebuano pride shone through, bagging 19 gold, 17 silver and 23 bronze medals throughout the meet.
The Cebuano athletes made their mark in various events, like as arnis, dancesport, skateboarding and billiards, to name a few. Some of the gold medalists include Margielyn Didal and Daniel Ledermann for skateboarding. Her 2 gold medal win marks her first appearance, as this is the first time skateboarding has been included in the SEAG line-up.
The 3 gold medals earned by the dancesport pair of Wilbert Aunzo and Pearl Caneda also proved that Cebu City dancesport development continues to produce best talents with its grassroots approach in the sport.
In the billiards event, Rubilen Amit secured her 2 gold finishes for the 9-ball pool singles women and 9-ball pool doubles women categories with her partner Chezka Centeno. Amit took her first gold in the 9-ball pool singles event back in 2005 SEAG which was also held in Manila.
All-Cebuano Team Adroit bagged the gold in the inaugural DOTA 2 category in the eSports event, besting Thailand who has seen international success in the past. Their determination and daily 8 hour practice for 6 days a week certainly paid off with the gold in their hands.
Big men June Mar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter represented the Cebuano grit as Gilas reassured their spot as the best basketball team in the SEAG after beating Thailand in the finals match to a 115-81 final scorecard.
Fil-Am James Deiparine ruled the 100-meter breaststroke and waved the country with it’s first gold medal after a decade in the swimming competitions. Another Ohio-based Cebuana Natalie Uy, though only able to visit her father’s homeland three times, is proud to raise the Philippine flag as she bagged the gold in women’s pole vault division.
This Cebuana althete, Daniela Reggie de la Pisa, just proves that she is a true blooded champion. She not only wowed everyone in the crowd winning her a gold medal with her performance during the rhythmic gymnastics competition, but she also fought and survived the big C 10 years ago after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Fil-Japanese Kiyomi Watanabe successfully retained her Southeast Asian Games judo title this year with another gold medal. South Carolina-based Lois Kaye “LK” Go got gold in the women’s golf match and recalled how her brother inspired her to get into this sport. Her brother was then under Cebu Country Club’s Junior golf program.
The silver awardees included Kim Andrew Remolino for triathlon, Nino Surban for cycling, Sherwin Manangil for obstacle course racing, Elreen Ann Ando and John Fabuar Ceniza for weightlifting and Mary Joy Tabal for women’s marathon. Softball silver medalists Jasper Cabrera and Jerome Bacarisas whose game was held at the Clark International Sports Complex in Mabalacat, Pampanga from December 2-8, 2019. 17-year old Raphael Trinidad another silver medalist in the wakeboarding field.
We also have several Cebuano bronze medalists to note like Jasmine Alkhaldi for swimming, Warren Kiamko for billiards, Cherry Ann Rondina and Floremel Rodriguez for women’s beach volleyball and Edmar Bonon and James Buytrago for men’s beach volleyball.
We have so much to thank our athletes for, their sacrifice and time away from their families. The Cebuano athletes, though small in numbers as compared to the rest of the representation in the Philippine contingent, showed heart in their respective sports. The opportunity of representing the country in events like the SEAG is a testament that Cebu can produce the best athletes and with the growing support of the local government, they can still grow in numbers.