Pencak Silat delivered its maiden gold for the Philippines in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games on Monday through Edmar Tacuel, who topped the men’s seni tunggal event at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center.
The 20-year-old from Tubongan, Iloilo impressed the judges in his games debut and scored 470 points, edging Muhammad Iqbal Bin Abdul Rahman of Singapore who bagged the bronze with 461 points and Dino Bima Sulistianto of Indonesia who settled for the bronze with 460 points.
Tacuel, sixth of the seven children of a farmer and a housekeeper, couldn’t contain his emotion after adding to the Philippines’ golden run.
“I’m happy that I won a gold medal,” he said. “I want to thank all the coaches, my teammates, my province-mates, to the whole Philippines, many thanks.”
Tacuel said his knowledge of arnis, his first sport since 2012, helped him in his transition to pencak silat. He became a member of the national team last April and trained rigorous in Singapore and Thailand.
Meanwhile, Jones Llabares Inso shrugged off first-time jitters to snare the silver medal in the men’s taolu taijijian (wushu forms-straight sword) event at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.
The SEAG wushu rookie Inso, 22, came through with a 9.65-point showing to shine in the eight-athlete competition to notch the silver a day after teammate Agatha Wong won the gold in women’s taijiquan.
“It’s very fulfilling and I’m just glad to contribute a medal to the Philippines,” said Inso, who shored up the PH wushu squad’s medal haul to 1-1-1 gold-silver-bronze.
“I did not expect to win. I just think of executing the routine that I trained for the best way I can,” he added.
Inso narrowly missed on the gold after Malaysia’s Choon How Loh tallied 9.68 points. Brunei Darussalam’s Hosea Wong Zheng Yu nabbed the bronze with 9.60 points.
The third-year Philippine team member bounced back from his fourth-place performance in the opening day’s taijiquan, wherein compatriot Daniel Parantac pulled out a bronze.
“Actually, yesterday (Sunday) I was more nervous because I felt the pressure from the home audience. But today, my muscles loosened up and I was able to perform better,” said Inso, who drew confidence from his family and friends watching him from the stands.