The seasoned trio of brothers Dustin Jaco, Enrico Raphael Mella, and Rodolfo Reyes, Jr. made sure the gold stays with the Philippines after a rousing performance in the finals, Saturday afternoon at KLCC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The Southeast Asian Games reigning men’s team poomsae champions turned in 8.37 in the Taegeuk 8, but followed it up with an even more impressive 8.43 in Shipjin. That brought the final score to 8.40, 0.6 clear of hosts Malaysia.
The troika bagged the country’s 16th gold medal in the regional meet.
Malaysia settled for the silver medal, and Indonesia for the bronze medal.
Meanwhile, the women’s squad of Jocel Lyn Ninobla, Rinna Babanto and Juvenile Faye Crisostomo tallied 8.27 points to settle for bronze.
Reyes also won the bronze in men’s individual event.
Both Raphael and Dustin Mella had been part of the team that won the gold in 2013 and 2015 SEA Games, while Reyes joined the team only this year.
“All the hard work and sacrifices paid off. Lahat ng mga hirap naming sa training was worth it,” said the 22-year-old Dustin, a Business Economics student at the University of the Philippines-Diliman and the eldest of four siblings.
“We trained almost half day daily plus yung workouts pa. Binigay lang naming ang best namin para sa bansa at naging patas naman ang mga judges,” said Raphael of the team that had also won the bronze in the Korean Open last June.
Reyes was also overwhelmed by the victory, saying their four years together helped a lot.
They will have a few days of rest before preparing for the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games this coming September 17-27 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.