INCHEON, Korea—Boxing provided a ray of hope for the Philippines on Friday, but Gilas Pilipinas’ third quarter implosion led to a big loss to Qatar that cascaded to other fronts on a non-productive day for the Filipinos in the 17th Asian Games.
Reigning Southeast Asian Games champion Mario Fernandez had an explosive performance in beating Puran Rai of Nepal, 3-0, that sent him into the quarterfinal of the bantamweight division and closer to a bronze medal at the least.
Also gaining a clear shot at a possible bronze medal was Charly Suarez who scored a split decision win over Akhmil Kumar of India, 2-1, that also sent him into the quarterfinals.
Should they win their matches in the next round, Fernandez and Suarez are already assured of a bronze medal each.
“The boxers are always our gold medal hopes in tournaments of this level,” said Chief of Mission Ricardo ‘Ritchie’ Garcia, who is also the chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
“We remain undaunted even if the gold medals have yet to come our way. The boxers are still there, the taekwondo jins, the karatekas, our golfers, our BMX riders. The gold medals could come late but we will welcome those triumphs, of course,” Garcia said.
What hurt most was Gilas Pilipinas’ second straight loss after it bowed to Iran on Thursday.
Gilas’ collapse was even bigger this time, though, when they failed to answer Qatar’s 15 straight points in the third quarter that set the tone for the Qataris’ 77-68 triumph.
The Philippines aimed for medals in bowling but the women’s doubles squad of Anne Marie Kiac and Liza Clutario managed only 11th place in Squad A, while Liza del Rosario and Marian Lara Posadas placed 12th in Squad B.
Another medal bet for the day was the mixed triathlon team, which placed only sixth behind tandems from Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong and Kazakhstan.
In swimming, Jasmine Alkhadi clocked 26.35 seconds and out of the women’s 50m freestyle, .77 second behind Yi Tang, who placed third behind gold medal winner Xinyi Cheng of China and Miki Uchida of Japan.
Joshua Hall was .18 second behind Dmitry Baladin of Kazakhstan in their men’s 50m breaststroke heat but his time was still out of the Top 8. Baladin went on to win the gold medal.
In golf, Princess Superal and Mia Legaspi struggled with pin placements and slipped down the overall individual ladder as Thailand held on to the women’s lead.
After carding a 69 and sharing fourth overall in the first round, Superal shot a 73 and dropped into a tie for eighth at 142 while Legaspi did one better, scoring an even-par 72 that went with her opening-round 72 also for 142 at the Dream Park Country Club.
Pauline del Rosario matched Superal’s 73 but her opening 78 weighed her down into a tie for 18th overall.
With either 73 counting for the day along with Superal’s 72, the Filipinas had a second-day total of 145 and slipped to fourth overall from third in team play with a 284 total halfway through the 72-hole tournament. Del Rosario improved to 18th in individual play with 151.
Budsabakorn Sukapan of Thailand improved on her opening 68 with a 67 in the second round and seized the overall lead at 135, three shots up on Park Gyeol of South Korea who improved to 67 after a 71 and Minami Katsu of Japan who shot her second-straight 69.
Another Thai, Supamas Sangchan, who took the overall individual lead in the first round with a 67, shot a 72 for 139 and tumbled into a tie for fourth with Lee Soyoung of South Korea.
But the men’s team of Justin Quiban, Rupert Zaragosa, Raymart Tolentino and Kristoffer Arevalo stood way behind at ninth place, adding a second-round 221 to its 218 last Thursday for a 36-hole total of 439.
Chinese-Taipei retained the men’s team lead at 408, followed by South Korea at 415 and Thailand at 417.
Quiban was the best-placed Filipino in individual play, tied for 28th at 145 (71-74) while Zaragosa was another shot back at 146 after a second-round 74.
The men’s doubles team of Ruben Gonzales and Treat Huey defeated Macau’s Chan Chi Neng, 6-0, 6-3, to make up for the losses incurred by the mixed doubles pairings of Gonzales and Katharina Lehnert, and Huey and Denise Dy.