The Philippine national cycling team ended their 27th Southeast Asian Games stint in Myanmar with a one-two victory of the Caluag brothers at the Mount Pleasant Cycling Field.
London Olympian Daniel Patrick Caluag topped the morning Men’s BMX Cross trials with a time of 33.097, followed by Indonesia’s Toni Syarifudin with a time of 34.208.
Older brother Christopher Caluag clocked 34.383 to place 3rd.
The brothers then topped their respective semifinal heats en route to the finals.
Twenty-four year-old Daniel clinched the top spot in heat 1 semifinals by finishing with with 3 points after winning all three runs in the semifinals. He registered a time of 32.784 (R1), 33.032 (R2) and 32.684 (R1); to Indonesia’s Gusti Bagus Saputra’s and Thailand’s Jukrapechwho Wichana who were tied in second with 9 points each.
In the heat 2 of the semifinals, Christopher also topped the pack of 5 bikers by placing 1st in all his runs. He timed 33.677 (R1), 33.150 (R2) and 33.019 (R1) to finish with 3 points. Toni Syarifudin of Indonesia was second in heat 2 semifinals with 6 points – 34.438 (R2) 33.743 (R2) 33.160 (R2).
The Caluag brothers advanced to the final seeded 1st and 2nd, with Daniel being seeded first.
The London Olympian Daniel Caluag then ruled the men’s BMX finals with a time of 31.994, with brother Christopher finishing second with 32.555 seconds.
“It was such an easy race. I had a fantastic performance,” said the 26-year-old Chino, California-based rider who is seeing action in the SEA Games for the first time. “I was in control all the way. This is only a Southeast Asian level and I didn’t have a hard time competing.
“The ultimate goal is to make it back to the Olympics. But, of course, there are some minor bumps along the way like the SEA Games and the Asian Games next year. My mission is to overcome all those tournaments and be stronger, more prepared for 2016.”
The son of a respiratory therapist from Bulacan, Caluag was dominant in the final round, even waiting for his brother to come close while executing a wheelie down the stretch, much to the delight of the small Filipino crowd led by Philippine chief of mission Jeff Tamayo.
He said he waited for his brother in a bid to come up with a rare double-gold-medal finish for Team Philippines.
But the Indonesian rider suddenly emerged, forcing him to leave Christoper and ensure the gold.
“Having a 1-2 finish is just as good as winning two gold medals. My brother and I have been working hard in the States for tournaments like this. Our goal is to get better every day,” he said.
“We’ll be back in the Asian Games next year. Hopefully, win another gold and silver medal again for the Philippines.”
Philippine cycling team has produced 2 gold medals, a silver and 2 bronze medals.
Mark John Galedo won the gold in the Cycling Men’s 50km Individual Road Race, while Ronald Oranza won the bronze in the Men’s 50km Individual Road Race, as well as the men’s road race 163km team of Boots Ryan Cayubit, Jun Rey Navarra,
Rustom Lim, Mark John Galedo and Ronald Oranza.