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Mon 22 July 2024

HERSTORY THURSDAY: Filipinas, Eala in historic Asiad run

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It was Herstory Thursday for Team Philippines as the women’s national football team and tennis ace Alex Eala delivered historic performances for the country in the ongoing 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.

Sara Eggesvik scored a brace in the 60th and 61st minute to add on Sarina Bolden’s opener in the 18th minute as the Filipinas notched their biggest win against Myanmar, 3-0, to enter the quarterfinals of the women’s football tournament.

Bolden notched her 26th international goal and third in the tournament with a penalty kick after she was fouled by Moe Ma Ma Soe inside the penalty area.

Needing only that and a clean sheet to box out Vietnam from the quarterfinals race, Eggesvik momentarily played forward and sank two goals around the 60th minute mark—a strike off a Bolden pass from a Jessica Cowart center line set piece and another from point blank off a Merryl Serrano pass to pad her international goals to five.

With the win, the Filipinas—who will face Japan on Saturday for the winner-take-all—returned the country to the Asian Games football quarterfinals for the first time since 1958.

Eala bags 2

In tennis, teenage sensation and world number 191 Alex Eala finally won a set against a WTA top 100 but fell short in the women’s singles semis against top seed and world number 23 Zheng Qinwen of China, 1-6, 7-6 (7-5), 3-6.

Zheng was in dominating form, issuing a breadstick against Eala in the first set and was poised for to repeat in the next set.

Eala, however, clawed her way up in the marathon set 2, winning five consecutive games, saving three match points, and winning all her service points in the tiebreaker.

Staying alive after the set marked by very long games and lasted for 107 minutes, Eala jumped to a 3-1 lead in the third set and was poised for a monumental upset.

Zheng, however, made sure the rallies were short, hitting hard and winning most of her second shots thereafter to carve out five straight won games to win the match.

Be that as it may, it was a gallant stand by Eala, whose biggest pro accomplishment are three W25 trophies, against the 20-year-old Zheng, a recent WTA 250 champion and US Open quarterfinalist entering her prime.

Unfazed after a two-hour rest, though, Eala bagged another sure medal again as her partnership with Francis Casey Alcantara bore fruit with a 6-4, 6-4 quarterfinals victory over Thailand’s Luksika Khumkum and Maximus Jones in mixed doubles.

They will gun for a higher medal tomorrow in the semifinals versus Taiwan’s Liang En-Shuo and Huang Tsung-Hao

Silver for Mandal

Team Philippines finally won a medal other than bronze in the 2022 Asian Games as wushu sanda fighter Arnel Mandal dropped his final match against China’s Jiang Haidong in the men’s 56 kg. division Thursday morning in Hangzhou.

The Iloilo native was waved off by the chair officials owing to Jiang’s superior point difference.

This ended the Philippines’ productive Asiad campaign with a silver and three bronze medals.

“Kahit papaano, di masama na nakauwi tayo ng silver medal. Ginawa ko naman ang lahat sa final pero hindi tayo pinalad,” Mandal, the2015 world wushu champion, said after the match.

In golf, Rianne Maliksi landed at joint seventh place (joint third in the medal chase) with a 4-under par (68) in the first round of the women’s competition.

Three strokes ahead at 7-under par (65) is Japan’s Saki Baba while five others are logjammed in second place at 5-under par (65).

2018 gold medalist Lois Kaye Go, meanwhile, is far behind with an even par (72) for joint 21st place.

Yuka Saso won this event in the previous Asiad while she, Go, and Bianca Pagdanganan bagged the team championship.

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