SEA Games: Pinay fencers overcome Singapore for epee gold

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 07 2019 03:43 PM | Updated as of Dec 08 2019 05:55 PM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE)—The Philippine women’s epee team rallied to beat Singapore to seize the gold medal in Southeast Asian Games fencing at the World Trade Center on Saturday.

Trailing for most of the way, the Filipinas rallied in the 7th and 8th singles to catch up, before Hanniel Abella secured the 45-38 triumph in the 9th.

Joining Abella on the gold medal winning team are Harlene Raguin, Anna Gabriella Estimida and Mickyle Bustos.

"Ginawa namin ito because we want to deliver for the Philippines," said Abella, 26, who revealed that she quit her job in February to focus on training for these Games.

"Talagang we worked hard for this," she said. "We prepared for this, at marami sa amin ang nag-sakripisyo ng school, ng work, time for our families, so we can deliver medals for the Philippines."

Abella, who settled for silver in the individual epee, padded the lead created by Raguin in the 8th single and fended off Singapore's Kiriah Tikanah in the 9th.

This is the second gold for the national fencing team after Jylyn Nicanor won the individual sabre event.

Richard Gomez, chief of the Philippine Fencing Association, the sport's national governing body, said his team was "on track" to produce the golds expected of them.

"I really know deep in my heart that our women's epee can make the gold, and they did," Gomez told ABS-CBN News.

"Sometimes you really have to pressure the fencers to be aggressive," he added. "Sometimes they have a tendency to just wait for what's coming."

"This time we told them to be aggressive, be on the move. So that's how they were getting their points, by pushing the opponent."

The Philippine men's foil team, meanwhile, settled for bronze after a 45-40 loss to Thailand in the semifinal.

The fencing competition concludes Sunday at the World Trade Center, with team sabre and team epee events left to be played.

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.