Bautista sets personal best, wins PH's first 110m hurdle gold

Trackster Clinton Bautista got the gold in 110m hurdles. KC Cruz/ESPN5

CAPAS, Tarlac -- Clinton Bautista's photo finish in the 110m men's hurdle final highlighted Team Philippines' six-medal haul in the penultimate day of the athletics competition at the 30th Southeast Asian Games in New Clark City here.

Bautista and silver medalist Sofian Rayzam Shah Wan of Malaysia both clocked at 13.87 finish, but replays showed that the Filipino runner edged his competitor by a head to deliver the country's first-ever gold medal in that event. Laos' Anousone Xaysa finished third there.

This finish was also the personal best set by Bautista, who overcame an adductor injury he sustained 3 weeks before the start of the regional meet.

"I didn't expect this, but coach (Dario de Rosas) and I targeted 13 seconds. This is my first time hitting 13 seconds," he bared. "I got the injury because we trained non-stop for the SEA Games. We didn't waste any time."

Melvin Calano also took home a gold in the men's javelin throw after hitting a 72.86m mark in just his first throw to beat Indonesia's Abd Hafiz (71.0m) and Vietnam's Hoai Van Nguyen (70.88m).

Six days after his home in Camarines Norte was swept away by a tornado brought by Typhoon "Tisoy", Calano is nothing but thankful for the win.

"I cried and thank the Lord for keeping my family safe. I only thought about how He kept my family safe and not about the fact that my house was destroyed," said Calano, whose wife and kids took refuge in their house's restroom for safety. "Whatever should be rightfully returned to the Lord, I'll offer it to him."

In the men's 800m dash, first-timer Carter James Lilly logged a silver finish after clocking at 1:50.17 behind eventual winner Van Thai Duong of Vietnam.

Lilly appeared to have absorbed a slight bump in the final 30 meters from the Vietnamese, who actually closed the gap built by the Filipino in the final leg for the comeback victory, but the 24-year-old took the defeat in stride and vowed to jump back into training to improve.

"It's part of the race. It happens," a level-headed Lilly said after the race. "I'm glad that the race was at night. But coming anywhere new, halfway across the world from where I'm training, it's always a tough adjustment. But I felt like I adjusted pretty well. It's just my first race in a while. It happens."

Meanwhile in the 4x100 women's relay, Kristina Knott couldn't complete a come-from-behind victory in the final 100m to place second behind Thailand (44.38 seconds). The Philippines -- bannered by Knott, Zion Nelson and sisters Kayla and Kyla Richardson -- missed gold by only .19 seconds.

Sonny Wagdos and the 4x100 men's relay snagged bronzes for the Philippines to round out the country's tally for the day.

Bautista, Anfernee Lopena, Francis Medina and Eric Gray (40.04 seconds) secured bronze in the relay after finishing behind Thailand (39.27s) and Malaysia (39.78s).

Wagdos snatched the first medal of the day for Team Philippines in the men's 5000 final, where he narrowly missed a better placing after tallying a 14:34.73 finish behind Thailand's Kieran Tuntivate (14:31.15) and Vietnam's Nguyen Van Lai (14:32.42).

Action continues on the final day Tuesday.