PHNOM PENH—Alvin Lobreguito and Ronil Tubog won a gold medal each on Tuesday to cap a strong finish by the country’s wrestlers in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games at the Chroy Changvar Hall.
Lobreguito finally hit paydirt in the games after he beat Thailand’s Nattawut Kaewkhuanchum, 6-2, in the 57-kg class and Tubog defeated Indonesian Zainal Abidin, 2-1, in the 61-kg category of men’s freestyle as the Philippines finished with four wrestling gold medals.
The gold medal haul was a marked improvement from the seven silvers and five bronzes Filipino athletes got in last Hanoi last year.
Lobreguito used his familiarity with his Thai opponent to convincingly win gold.
“I know I can beat him [Nattawut] although he improved a little. He’s still predictable,” the 31-year-old Lobreguito told BusinessMirror. “This is my sweetest SEA Games because this is my first gold medal after four tries.”
The wrestler from Bagong Silang in Quezon City overpowered Vietnam’s Khac Huy Phung, 3-1, to advance in the final against his old nemesis.
“I was really motivated to win because I’m very hungry of a gold medal,” said Lobreguito, who claimed silver in Vietnam last year and a bronze each in 2019 at home and in 2013 in Myanmar.
“When I got the opportunity, I did my very, very best not to waste it,” Lobreguito said.
Tubog, meanwhile, beat Singapore’s Eddy Bin Khidzer, 4-0, Thailand’s Siripong Jimpakam, 3-1, and Cambodia’s Soeun Sophors, 4-0, on the way to the final.
Lobreguito and Tubog joined Jason Balabal (men’s 87 kgs Greco Roman) and Cristina Vergara (women’s 65 kgs freestyle) on the wrestling gold medal list.
Wrestling Association of the Philippines President Alvin Aguilar praised his athletes for not giving up.
“I’m so thankful to every wrestler who competed here,” Aguilar said. “They didn’t give up and fought like true Filipino warriors.”
Image credits: Roy Domingo