Bridge, which makes its debut as a medal event in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games, gave the Philippines its first gold medal in day 4 of competition.
The men’s butler pair of Gerry Alquiros and George Soo won gold against 17 other competitors.
The women’s team of Gemma Tan, Viksi Egan, Rose Unson, and Mylene Encontro lost to Thailand in the semifinal to settle for the bronze medal.
The 13-person Philippine bridge contingent is composed by a motley mix of professionals, lawyers, executives, and academicians, with players ranging from their 20s to their 70s. National Statistical Coordination Board secretary general Romulo Virola is part of the team.
Ong finished with a total of 1386 pin falls en route to winning the gold medal. He had a solid performance from the third game onwards, taking the lead with a 252 in the game. Ong capped off the event with six strikes in the final game.
“It was during the third game that I felt I have a chance to win the gold. I was able to jump to number one after that,” said Ong. “But this is a very tough tournament. Our game plan was just to have fun, but all of a sudden, we found ourselves having a great chance of winning and now I’m a gold medalist.”
Posadas, a first-time competitor in the SEA Games, clinched his first medal with a strong finish. He started his campaign at No. 7, with solid stints in the first two games. But he came up big in his last game with a 254 to finish with a total of 1365.
“First time is the sweetest and a silver medal behind the gold of a teammate isn’t bad at all. This is truly special,” said Posadas, whose sisters Apple and Lara are also competing in the women’s event.
Rivera finished sixth behind a solid showing in the fifth game with a 266. He had eight strikes in the sixth and final game.
“Sana marami pang manalo ng medals. This 1-2 finish is big for our campaign. I’m sure the women’s team will also have a good shot at the gold,” said Rivera.