GUANGZHOUâ€”Save for the afternoon appearance of long jump queen Marestella Torres and the rock-steady chess squad, the Philippines would not be expecting possible good news Tuesday in the 16th Asian Games.
Running 16th in the medal race that China has already won this early, the Philippine team will turn its eyes on Torres, who is in position to capture the country’s third gold medal, as well as the progress of the chess campaign that is one win away from a semifinal berth.
The Filipinos also have three semifinalists in boxingâ€”Annie Albania, Rey Saludar and Victorio Saludar. It could have been four, but Wilfredo Lopez dropped his quarterfinal round bout against Jargal Otgonjargal of Mongolia, 1-7, late Monday evening.
All three will fight on Wednesday, with Albania taking on Aya Shinmoto of Japan, Rey facing Katsuaki Susa also of Japan, and Victorio trading punches with Brizhan Zhakpov of Kazakhstan.
On the track, Rene Herrera makes a bid in the 3,000-m steeplechase.
Starting the day for PHL, rider Marites Bitbit (2:47:48.83) finished 13th among 26 riders in the individual road race, nearly two seconds off the pace of winner Hsiao Mei Yu (2:47:46.12) of Taipei and sixth in the roster of Southeast Asian entries.
Wrestler Jerry Angana was relegated to the repechage of the 55 kgs category after losing badly to Kyong Il Yang of Korea, 0-4.
In an Olympic sport that only a handful of Filipinos practiceâ€”canoe/kayak â€” Alex Generalao, a neophyte in international games, was fourth among five competitors (4:01.967), and so was Danny Funelas (4:28.672), in the two semifinal heats where six others had already advanced to the final Monday afternoon.
The two try their fortunes in the 200-m semifinal heats later Tuesday afternoon.
Last Monday night, the basketball team chipped in with an 82-73 win over Taipei that formalized its entry to the quarterfinal round Wednesday against Korea, the second best qualifier headed by NBA stars flavored China.
Also eager to contribute, Wesley So, Joey Antonio, John Paul Gomez and Eugene Torre conquered highly-rated India, 2.5-1.5 Monday night, breaking a long losing streak against the same team that dates back to the 1988 Olympiad.
In the penultimate round, the foursome are determined wants to outdo Uzbekistan to proceed to medal play.
â€œWe need this win badly, and based on our recent performance, there is a strong chance for a medal finish,” said chess official Willy Abalos.
The delegation was alarmed as Rexel Ryan Fabrega, partner of Jaime Asok in synchronized diving, figured in a vehicular accident with his coach on the way to the competition venue Monday afternoon.
The athletes’ bus carrying Fabriga and his coach apparently collided with a car, and the Filipinos decided to proceed to the venue instead of seeking immediate medical care.
Based on the medical bulletin issued by team physician Dr. Alejandro Pineda on Tuesday, Fabriga sustained a soft tissue injury on the right shoulder. He failed to finish his third dive and underwent magnetic resonance imaging tests and x-rays of the cervical spines in the Games’ Village polyclinic.
Left to carry the cudgels for the team are Nino Carog and Zardo Domenios, who will compete today starting at 5 p.m.
With a lone win in four games, the RP Blu-Girls face tough Korea in the six-team cast. – KY, RCJ, GMANews.TV