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31st SEA Games

Pinoys sweep triathlon

We were expecting this in the first place, but we never relaxed despite the confidence that we have.

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SHOWING off their medals are triathletes (from left) Raven Alcoseba, Kim Mangrobang, Fernando Casares and Kim Remolino. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF MELVIN FAUSTO

HANOI, Vietnam — Bannered by rising star Filipino-Spanish Fernando Casares and the multi titled Kim Mangrobang, triathlon lived up to its lofty billing on Saturday with a sweep of the men’s and women’s individual gold medals in the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

Casares, who made his SEA Games debut during the 2019 SEA Games, clocked one hour, 56 minutes and 57 seconds in the men’s while Kim Remolino made it a 1-2 finish with a time of 1:59.160.

The bronze went to Thailand’s Narawich Vierra, who submitted a time of 2:14.16.

Mangrobang bagged her third straight SEA Games title, registering 2 hours, 13 minutes and 31 seconds, in the women’s.

Indonesiam Inga Prasetyo settled for silver with a time of 2:16.38 and Raven Alcoseba, also from the Philippines, likewise made it to the podium after clocking 2:18.300.

Mangrobang, 30, broke away from the pack in the bike stage of the 1.5-kilometer swim, 40-km bike and 10-kilometer run event during the bike leg.

National coach George Vilog wasn’t surprised by the strong finish, knowing that the Filipino entries were the clear favorites.

“We were expecting this in the first place, but we never relaxed despite the confidence that we have. They still did their homework,” Vilog said.

It was a landmark victory for Casares, who suited up during the mixed relay in the previous SEA Games.

Casares is being groomed to take over the reins from John Leerams ‘Rambo’ Chicano, who seized the gold in 2019.

Vilog said Casares and Remolino “showed great teamwork during the race, particularly in the bike (leg),” added Vilog, who has been calling the shots for the national squad since 2010.

Mangrobang guns for her second gold in the duathlon on Sunday.

Triathlon chief Tom Carrasco believes Casares, who approached him via online five years ago, has great potential.

“He has a terrific work ethic,” Carrasco said of Casares, whose mother is from the Philippines.

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