INCHEON, Korea—Motherhood shrouded her competence with doubts, and long jumper Marestella Torres failed to dispel them on Monday when she flopped three flights in the most awaited event for the Philippines in the centerpiece athletics competition of the 17th Asian Games.
Torres registered a ‘no mark’ after her failure to launch in three attempts.
She was the second entry in a field of 11 athletes to be dropped after Yuliya Tarasova opted not to start.
Only the top eight entries were contesting the medals in the event still ongoing at press time.
Also eliminated were Johny Mayooka of India, Kishari Chaudhari of Nepal and Bashair Obaid M almmanwari of Qatar.
Torres’ way to Incheon was a hard one.
She gave birth on Jan. 25 this year and but had to stop training six months before that. She almost did not make the team but convinced the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) to include her in the roster with a qualifying mark in the Singapore Open.
The Philippines remained with just two silver medals courtesy of wushu. It has another bronze also from wushu and one more from archery.
But boxing delivered a sure bronze through lightweight Charly Suarez, whose overwhelming triumph over Ammar Jabar Hasan of Iraq moved him into the semifinals of his class.
Suarez, 26, scored 29-27, 29-27, 29-27 in plastering Hasan.
Wilfredo Lopez defeated another Iraqi, Abdulridha Waheed, in a rather unimpressive win.
The muscle-bound brawler Waheed had the on a defensive from the start and at fight’s end and primed himself to be declared win but the 29-year old Lopez clinched it.
The three judges scored similar 29-28 counts to advance the Filipino into the quarterfinals.
Suarez, who had three operations on his shoulder last year and one earlier this year, advanced to the semis against Mohammada Mustafa Alkasbeh, 20, of Jordan who ousted South Korean Han Soonchul via a 3-0 count. They clash this Thursday, with the winner gaining a shot at the gold medal and the loser settling for the bronze.
Lopez, a veteran of the Guangzhou Asian Games in 2010 and a silver medalist in the Southeast Asian Games last year in Myanmar, nearly paid dearly for leaving his guard down against the aggressive Waheed, who repeatedly used his bulk to tie up the Filipino after unleashing combinations to the head and body.
“Naging habit na ni Lopez na nakababa ang kamay, matagal na namin kino-correct yun,” said coach Nolito “Boy” Velasco. “Kailangan bukas pag kaharap na niya ang Mongolian, takip mukha na siya. May sugat ‘yung Mongolian, doon namin siya tatargetin. May pag-asa tayong maka-sure bronze kapag nagawa natin ‘yung plano.”
Two other Filipino boxers still in the hunt—light flyweight Mark Anthony Barriga and bantamweight Mario Fernandez—will also fight on Tuesday in the quarterfinals.
Barriga, who ousted the taller but awkward Tosho Kashiwasaki of Japan by unanimous decision last Sunday, battles Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan while Fernandez, coming off a 3-0 win over Puran Rai of Nepal in the round-of-16, takes on Shiva Thapa of India.
The Blu Girls of softball also kept their medal bid alive despite losing their third straight game, 4-5, defeat at the hands of Chinese-Taipei.
The Blu Girls are looking forward to making it to the bronze medal game, and if still possible advance to the silver medal depending on the outcome of the games of the leading teams.
Filipino-Americans Danielle Lindsey Gilmore and Morgan Teressa Stuart each had two RBIs for the Blu Girls, who mounted a three-run explosion at the top of the fifth inning but fell short against the calculated game of the Taiwanese.
The Blu Girls are toting a 1-2 won-lost record but are expected to go 2-2 with an otherwise easy match against Thailand (0-3) at the close of the round-robin eliminations on Tuesday.
The Thais are already eliminated at this point and are expected to be joined by the Koreans who take on the Taiwanese on Tuesday. A loss would give the hosts a 1-4 record that would be good for fifth place.
“We are on course toward what we have planned for the Asian Games,” Blu Girls assistant coach Ana Santiago said.
The Blu Girls’ coaching staff led by head coach Randy Dizer opted to shoot for a semifinal round berth and then take it from there. Japan, China and Chinese Taipei are hard to beat in the round-robin, prompting the Philippines to focus on beating Korea and Thailand.
The ploy is working and the Filipinas are bound to compete in the medal round.
Tuesday’s game also pits front-runners Japan (4-0) and China against each other.
GILAS BOWS TO CHINA
Gilas Pilipinas suffered another sorry los, this time at the hands of the very young China squad, 78-71.
Gilas again failed to sustain a fourth-quarter charge, allowing a young Chinese team to end the game strongly.
The ousted defending champions are on a building mode with a team still learning the ropes in international play, with an average age of 22.
But they looked promising, even against the World Cup veteran Filipinos, who trimmed what was once an imposing 19-point deficit at 41-60 into just four points at 66-70, midway through the fourth quarter.
But the Chinese recovered in time with a scintillating 11-point explosion, capped by dunk by Zhao Tailong to finally snuff out the life out of the fading Filipinos with a 78-68 lead, down to a minute left.
The loss, Gilas’ fourth overall against just two wins in these games, relegated them to the battle for seventh place at 3:15 p.m. tomorrow against Mongolia at the Hwaseong Sports Gymnasium.
With the win, China shoots for fifth place at 3:15 p.m., also tomorrow against Qatar at 3:15 p.m. at the Samsan World Gymnasium.