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 here.
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 over Akhmil Kumar of India, 2-1, that also sent him into the quarterfinals.
Victory each by Fernandez and Suarez in their next matches will already assure them of the bronze medal.
“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.
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.
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.