Thirteen countries battle for honors in Asia Cup-Stage 2 archery competition at Rizal Memorial Stadium
SEA Games silver medalist Nicole Tagle leads the Philippine archery team along with Jonathan Reaport. Jerome Ascano

THIRTEEN countries are vying for honors in the 2018 Asia Cup-Stage 2 archery competition at the Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium.

The meet started on Friday and will end on Wednesday.

World ranking points are at stake. The first leg was held in Bangkok last March, while the third and final leg will be held in Chinese Taipei in July.

Teenage archer Nicole Tagle, who won a silver medal in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games, leads the Philippine team.

Also entered are Ma. Ferimi Gleam Bajado, Dranoel Barbin, Pia Elizabeth Angela Bidaure, Jennifer Chan, Amaya Paz-Cojuangco, Paul Marton Dela Cruz, Rachelle Anne Cabral-Dela Cruz, Kareel Hongitan, Mark Javier, Florante Matan, Gab Moreno, Jonathan Reaport, Andrea Robles, Joseph Vicencio and Earl Benjamin Yap.

The Rizal Memorial Baseball Stadium passed international standards, according to local officials.

“Nakita naman namin ‘yung ibang venue sa abroad. The other day, na-inspect na siya ng international judge and thumbs up naman daw. ‘Yun ang main purpose namin kasi even ‘yung mga maliliit na tournament, napupunta kami sa malayong lugar na konti lang ang audience. Ngayon inaayos namin na makikita ng mga audience. Nagpapasalamat din kami sa PSC na binigyan kami ng chance na makapag-host ng. Even,” said Sombrio.

The last time the Philippines hosted a big archery event was in 2008, when it was still called the Asian Grand Prix.

“To some extent, this is the first time we will be hosting in such a long time,” said World Archery Philippines treasurer John Philip Orbeta.

“The organizers have done a lot of preparations for this. We hope to have a very successful Asia Cup. Hopefully, this becomes a regular leg of the Asia Cup series.”

WAP secretary general Rosendo Sombrio said the event is also a good test not just for the athletes in the coming Asian Games, but also the officials with the country hosting the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

“Hopefully, ma-gauge din namin ‘yung mga makakalaban namin sa Asian Games at maging gauge din namin para sa national team para sa Asian Games at sa SEA Games,” Sombrio said.

“We are also preparing for the 2019 SEA Games so hopefully, magka-experience kami in handling an international tournament like this,” said Sombrio.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @reubensports