NANJING – Jurence Mendoza of the Philippines lost steam in the match that mattered most and settled for the silver medal in boys’ tennis of the 2nd Asian Youth Games.
The Filipino player was favored against Vietnam’s Hoang Nam Ly but couldn’t really get his game going in a 7-6 (7-4), 5-7, 5-7 loss on Friday at the Tennis Academy of China outdoor courts.
Mendoza, seeded second here, trailed 3-5 in the opening set and spent a lot of energy trying to catch his fourth-seeded opponent. The first set alone lasted a little over an hour.
In the second set, Mendoza blew two chances to break Ly’s serve but squandered a 40-15 lead on both occasions. Ly took the opportunity to even the match.
And in the third and deciding set, Mendoza, who struggled with his serve all day long, kept fighting and forced a 5-5 deadlock. But that proved to be his last stand.
Ly won the 11th game of the final set at love and broke Mendoza in the 12th game after the 17-year-old student of UP Diliman double-faulted twice.
The Vietnamese, with a world youth ranking of No. 142 compared to Mendoza’s No. 89, needed close to three hours to win the gold.
A group of Filipino sports officials cheered wildly for Mendoza, who advanced to the finals with convincing wins over players from Nepal, Kuwait, Hong Kong, and India.
With his silver, Mendoza capped the Philippine campaign in this 45-nation event reserved for athletes aged 14 to 17 years.
The Filipinos will come home with two gold and three silver medals, a marked improvement from their one-silver, one-bronze effort in the inaugural AYG in Singapore in 2009.
“We cannot ask for anything more from our athletes,” said chef de mission Tac Padilla of the 54-strong delegation supported by the Philippine Sports Commission.
“We all saw how Jurence fought in this match. He has nothing to be ashamed of. We should be happy with two gold medals and three silvers,” added the chef de mission.
Golf delivered a gold courtesy of Mia Legaspi and a silver by Princess Superal, while taekwondo won the gold through Pauline Louise Lopez and a silver through Francis Aaron Agojo.
The main bulk of the Filipino delegation has left for home while the last batch, mostly made up of team officials, will arrive in Manila midnight of Sunday.
The other night, Kyla Richardson finished fifth in the girls’ 200m race with a time of 23.82 seconds, while the 3-on-3 basketball team of Isaac Go, Patrick Ramirez and Andrei Caracut lost to Indonesia, 19-11, and placed eighth overall.
Swimmer Jethro Chua was still scheduled to compete in the finals of 100m freestyle Friday night. He qualified with a time of 53.55 seconds.