PH flag-bearer Ian Lariba bows out of Olympics after loss to Congo's Han Xing in Rio opener
Ian Lariba battled hard but was outclassed by Congo's Han Xing. Jerome Ascano

RIO DE JANEIRO—Ian Lariba bowed out in her first match, losing to Han Xing of Congo, 11-7, 13-11, 11-9, 11-7, on Saturday morning (Saturday night, Manila time) in the table tennis women’s singles of the Olympics.

Lariba had a competitive match against Han but couldn’t pull off a set victory to end her Olympic stint just after carrying the Philippine flag in the parade of nations.

The 325th-ranked Lariba gave Han, who is at the 161st spot in the world rankings, a tough time in the second set, where the La Salle star almost won the game, reaching set point at 10th before eventually falling 11-13. 

Lariba, though, held her head after the loss as she considered the early exit a learning experience that will only make her better.

"Sayang. Dikit naman except sa end game. May tension at kaba pa ako but I will bring home this learning experience," Lariba said after the game.

"May moments na pigil ang palo ko. I know na kaya ko pero may kulang pa," she added. "Madami ako natutunan, more on self control and how to overcome this stage. Masaya. I enjoyed nung nasa gitna ako. There's reason behind everything."

Up next for the Philippines is swimmer Jessie Lacuna, who competes in the heats of 400m freestyle early Sunday morning.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @jeromeascano