JASON Balabal, the country’s flag-bearer in the opening ceremony of the 27th Southeast Asian Games, settled for the silver medal in the Greco-Roman event Tuesday in Yangoon.
Balabal lost against eventual gold medalist Chheang Hong Kov, a Cambodian-North Korean, via pinfall during the second match to take runner-up honors.
The Filipino later abal defeated a Thailand foe in his third and final bout to formally claim the silver medal.
Head coach Roy Camposano said they were surprised at the ability of the Cambodian wrestler.
“Hindi namin kilala ‘yung Cambodian na ‘yun. Kaya nabigla kami na malakas pala,” said Camposano.
There are high expectations for Balabal especially after being tasked to carry the Philippine flag during the traditional march past of nations on Wednesday’s formal opening of the biennial meet to be held at the Wunna Theikdi Stadium in Naypyitaw.
The Ifugao native failed to land his third straight gold medal in wrestling that began when he debuted in Laos four years ago.
Balabal will still see action in the men's freestyle.