POOLED REPORT FROM THE PSA
NAY PYI TAW, Myanmar — A worn out Mark Anthony Barriga flirted with disaster before scoring a split decision victory over Huynh Ngoc Tan of Vietnam in the quarterfinals of their men’s light flyweight bout in the 27th Southeast Asian Games Tuesday at the Wanna Theikdi Stadium here.
Fresh from a month-long trip in Assisi, Italy, Barriga had some anxious moments in the second round before he went for the kill in the third to formally capture a semifinal slot.
Earlier, Junel Cantancio coasted to an easy unanimous decision win over Keochi Xayyasone of Laos to join his teammates — light welterweight Dennis Galvan, flyweight Rey Saludar, bantamweight Mario Fernandez, welterweight Wilfredo Lopez, bantamweight Iris Magno, flyweight Maricris Igam and light flyweight Josie Gabuco — in the next round.
Nesthy Petecio was the first to advance to the gold medal match after pulling off a masterful unanimous decision conquest of Tassamalee Tsongjan of Thailand in the women’s featherweight match last Monday.
But all eyes were on Barriga, who suffered from jetlag after returning to the Philippines barely a day before the team embarked on a long flight to this newly-established Burmese capital.
“Inaantok ako, hindi ako makasuntok. Mabigat ang mga paa ko,” said the 20-year old pride of Panabo, Davao del Norte who served as the country’s lone bet in the London Olympics last year.
Barriga marches back to the ring on Friday, hoping to show up in top form in his hunt for the elusive gold medal.