Sat 9 December 2023

Two bronzes for Eala as Alcantara earn maiden Asiad podium; Gilas women shine

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An Asian Games final stint has proven to be ambitious for Pinay teenage star Alex Eala as she and Francis Casey Alcantara came short of a final stint in the tennis mixed doubles event of the quadrennial event in Hangzhou, China on Friday.

Losing in the semifinals against the Taiwanese pair of Liang En-shuo and Huang Tsung-hao, 5-7, 3-6, Eala finished her maiden Asiad campaign with two bronzes after narrowly losing a three-hour semifinal war against women’s singles gold medalist Zheng Qinwen in three grueling sets.

With her plums, the eighteen-year-old became the Philippines’ first female Asiad medalist since 1966.

It was also a huge accomplishment for 31-year-old veteran Alcantara, the country’s first Grand Slam juniors champion, achieved in the 2009 Australian Open boys doubles, as it was his first time to step on the podium of the Asiad on his second stint.

In women’s basketball, Gilas women overpowered Hong Kong, 99-63, thanks to another hot shooting from Janine Pontejos, who fired seven triples and a game high 23 points while forward Afril Bernardino netted 20 points, eight rebounds, and six assists for their second straight win in Group B.

It was a dismal Day 6 though for Team Philippines as the men’s 3×3 team got trounced by Mongolia, 12-21, denying Gilas an outright quarterfinals berth and forcing them to an elimination match against Kazakhstan later today.

In softball, the Blu Girls were eliminated from the gold medal match with a 2-9 loss to five-peat champion Japan in the Super Round.

The Philippines are thus relegated to the bronze medal match against Taiwan on October 2.

In swimming, the women’s team of Olympian Kayla Sanchez, Jasmine Alkhaldi, Thanya Angelyn Dela Cruz, and Tiea Salvino wounded up at a distant fourth place in the 4×100 m. medley relay, clocking in nine seconds behind bronze medalist Hong Kong.

In boxing, Olympic silver medalist Nesthy Petecio absorbed an early exit, losing via unanimous decision against Tokyo rival Lin Yu-Ting of Taiwan in a women’s featherweight grudge match.

Heavyweight John Marvin likewise got the boot in the men’s division as 35-year-old Jeong Jaemin of South Korea landed a crunchy right hook on the Filipino’s jaw to score a technical knockout via referee stoppage at the 2:03 mark of the first round, despite Marvin beating the eight-count.

Eumir Marcial, though, remained to be in contention alongside fellow Olympic medalist Carlo Paalam as the light heavyweight finished Nguyen Manh Cuong of Vietnam via unanimous decision in the round of 16.

The Philippines is currently at 25th place in the medal tally with one silver and six bronzes.

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