NANJING – As expected, basketball and golf provided the excitement for the Philippines’ campaign in the 2nd Asian Youth Games as the shooting team suffered an early loss on Sunday at the Fangshan Shooting Hall.
George Isaac Go, Patrick Ramirez, and Andrei Caracut struck twice in 3-on-3 basketball by beating Indonesia, 10-8, and then Saudi Arabia, 14-10, at the Wutaishan courts late Saturday evening.
The Filipino players, formed at the last minute after the original choices begged off, were scheduled to take on Maldives late Sunday with a victory assuring them of a slot in the quarterfinals. They came here with no fourth player or a substitute.
“We cannot think of the quarterfinals without beating Maldives. But once we do, then everything gets tougher for our players,” said head coach Nic Jorge in anticipation of a quarterfinals pairing with mighty Iran.
Despite the close margin, the Filipinos never had trouble against Indonesia, but against Saudi Arabia, they finished the game with only two players after Ramirez fouled out with 2:44 left and his team barely ahead, 10-8.
Timely baskets by both Go and Caracut saved the day for the Filipinos, who must learn how to stay away from foul trouble if they want to reach the medal rounds against tougher and taller teams from Iran, South Korea, and host China.
Over at the Zongshan International Golf Club, Mia Legaspi took the first-round lead with a six-under-par 66 while teammate Princess Superal of ICTSI was in a three-way tie for second with Taipei’s Cheng Su-Chia and Thailand’s Sangchan Supamas with a 69.
In boys’ competition, Gabriel Tomas Manotoc carried the fight for the Philippines with an opening 72 for a tie for sixth and eight strokes off the leader from Taipei Yu Chung-an. Rupert Zaragosa is in 13th at 76.
The sad news for the day came when Amparo Acuna didn’t get to the medal rounds of the girls’ 10m air rifle after firing 460 points, which was a marked improvement from her previous best of 399.
Acuna finished 12th in a strong field of 39 shooters. China’s He Chi-Chao took the gold, South Korea’s Kim Je Hee the silver, and Singapore’s Martina Lindsay Veloso, who has Filipino blood, won the bronze.
In badminton, second seed Mark Alcala sailed into the quarterfinals of the boys’ singles with an easy 21-9, 21-11 win over Cambodia’s Cheng Perak. Up next for the Filipino top player is an opponent from either Hong Kong or Iraq.
Alcala is also expected to cruise past his next match but may face a tougher player from Indonesia in the semifinals.
In table tennis, Emy Rose Dael, the only Fiipino to advance to the second round, lost to North Korea’s Jimju Kim, 11-3, 6-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-6.
The Philippine team in the seven-a-side rugby took their second straight loss. After a 57-0 defeat against Hong Kong the other night, they suffered a 45-nil defeat against host China.
The Philippine campaign resumes today with the 100m dash for girls featuring Fil-American twins Kayla and Kyla Richardson. The swimmers will also plunge into action with Arriane Herranz and Roxanne Yu in the girls’ 100m backstroke.
Shooter Celdon Arellano competes in the boys’ 10m air rifle, judo’s Renzo Cazenas in the 81 kg, and weightlifters Margaret Colonia and Marlo Llena in the girls’ 53 kg and boys’ 69 kg, respectively.
Alcala and Eleanor Inlayo resume their bid in mixed doubles while fencers Divine Romero and Christian Concepcion see action in the foil and sabre events.