BEIJING Olympics veteran Eric Ang cemented his legacy in trap shooting as he and Hagen Topacio – touted by many as Ang's heir apparent – helped power the Philippine team to a runaway victory in the recent South East Asian Shooting Association (Seasa) Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The 42-year-old businessman turned out to be the catalyst for the PH team after his tough but inspiring silver medal win in the individual competition.
Up against the best in the region, the 11-time PH Open champion showed his class by topping the new six-man semis stage after firing 12 targets to advance outright to the final, beating Topacio and Vietnamese Le Nghia in a shoot-off for the other final berth after finishing with similar 11 targets.
Having the luxury of training abroad, especially in China, the Vietnamese outlasted Topacio in their shoot-off, 7-6, before edging Ang out for the gold medal, 13-11.
The new final format did Ang in as it was the first time the ruling was used in the competition although it was already applied in some events following the London Games last year.
“Nanibago pa kami sa final format, but overall, we're happy,” said the pride of Laoag City (Ilocos Norte). “We can do better if we only had enough training. Our training was distracted because of the gun ban."
Ang and Topacio, however, bounced back big time in the team competition, with the former firing 110 targets and the chubby sharpshooter from University of the Philippines hitting 115 targets as the PH team tallied 328 targets to beat Taiwan by 17 targets.
The Malaysians were a poor third with 305.
Former world champion Jethro Dionisio also helped the country’s cause by contributing 103 targets.
Inspired by the men’s team’s dominating performance, the troika of Ylvanna Dy, Joelle Panganiban, and Kathlyn Granados bagged the silver in their event.
Like Ang, Dy brought home two medals by finishing third in the individual event.
Despite their show of force, the trap shooters could not be of help for the country in the coming SEA Games in Myanmar since their event was scrapped from the biennial tournament.
But the nationals are hoping their accomplishments in the tough tournament will be enough to convince government and sports officials to continue their support since they intend to take part in the World Cup in the United States and Germany next year as part of their build up for the Asian Games.