Slow Sunday for Philippine contingent at 2017 SEA Games
Mario Fernandez of the Philippines stops Maung Nge of Myanmar in the first round of their bantamweight preliminaries in the boxing competition of the 29th Southeast Asian Games at the MITEC Hall 8 in Kuala Lumpur (Contributed Photo)
KUALA LUMPUR – Filipino athletes crawled on a slow, cold Sunday with no gold medal to show while patiently lurking and waiting for the days where mints would start to fall in the 29th Southeast Asian Games here.
Prized wushu artist Daniel Parantac faded into oblivion after committing a major blunder that cost him the gold – and probably, his career – while a young archer in Nicole Tagle succumbed to a sharpshooting Indonesian to settle for the silver and underscore the country’s sorry day.
Parantac, a two-time SEA Games gold medalist, had a heart-breaking performance in the finals of men’s taijin after scoring 9.56 points to settle outside the medal podium behind Jack Chang Loh of Singapore (9.67 points), Bobie
Valentinus Gunawan of Indonesia (9.65 points) and Jun Kai Chan of Singapore (9.62 points).
His coach, Samson Co, said it was supposed to be a walk in the park, an easy
ride to the gold, but he committed a grave blunder in the first few stretch of his performance that cost him precious points.
“His overall performance was very good, but he had difficulty in his landing in the first part that prompted the judges to deduct points from his total score,” said Co, speaking on behalf of Parantac who had his face buried on a towel after that sorry defeat.
“Had those points were not deducted, he could have surpass the 9.67 points by the gold-medal winner. Sayang. I think there’s also pressure on his part because he really wants to win his third (SEA Games) gold medal.”
Parantac refused to issue any statement, but remains firm on the possibility of formally shutting down his colorful career that was laced with two SEA Games gold, a silver in Incheon Asian Games and bronze medals in two World Wushu Championships.
He, however, still has a chance to redeem himself in the compulsory taiquan event on Tuesday.
Also coming up short was 15-year old Tagle, who led early on before huffing and puffing in the crucial stretch to yield a 4-6 decision to topseed Diananda Choidunis of Indonesia in the women’s individual recurve event.
Tagle led after the first two ends, 3-1, sharing the points after a tie at 29 in the first and winning the second by a hairline, 28-27 before a stalemate in the third at 29.
But the Indonesian took control of the fourth 29-27 to drag the battle to a deciding fifth set, where her accuracy and precision took their toll to run away with a 28-23 win in the final set to claim the gold.
Tagle’s heroics prompted the Philippines to settle for its second silver medal following the golden performance of Mary Joy Tabal in the women’s marathon on Saturday.
The Philippines is now at the seventh place with a gold, two silver and two bronze medals, way behind early leaders Malaysia with 13 gold, 10 silver and eight bronze medals and Singapore, which pocketed six gold, five silver and seven bronze medals.
The Philippines’ gold medal are tipped to drop starting Monday and Tuesday when triathlon aces Nikko Huelgas, Kim Mangrobang and Ma. Claire Adorna kick off their bid as well as cyclist Marella Salamat, sprinters Eric Cray and Trenten Beram and karate Junna Tsukii march to the warzone.
But still, there were some rays of sunshine in Sunday’s performance.
Boxers Clark Ian Bautista, Mario Fernandez and Eumir Felix Marcial asserted their dominance over their respective foes to remain on hunt for precious gold medals.
Bautista, the reigning champion in the flyweight class, brushed off the hostile crowd to dominate Abdul Salam Kasim of Malaysia while Fernandez stopped Maung Nge of Myanmar in the bantamweight division.
Marcial, meanwhile, scored a unanimous decision victory over Nguyen Manh Cuong of Vietnam in the middleweight class to make it a perfect day for the Alliance of Boxing Association of the Philippines.
“Masaya pero hindi pwedeng magkumpyansa dahil Malakas ang mga kalaban,” said Marcial, who will be at the sidelines when Filipino-British Marvin Jon Tupas, Olympian Charly Suarez and Carlo Paalam step into the ring on Monday.