By: Aeron Valderrama, Aldo Tong, Brian Tamayao, Kim Leong, Paolo Poblador, and Matthew Li
The competitions heat up on the seventh day of the Team Philippines campaign, at the 28th Southeast Asian Games (SEAG). In the end, more medals were added to the haul of the country’s delegation; five of these medals were gold. The contingent, however, is stuck at 7th place below Myanmar, which is one gold medal ahead.
Let’s delve into a recap of our athletes’ performances last Sunday, June 7, in this episode of At The Games.
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Diving: Team PH starts on wrong foot
Divers John Elmerson Fabriga and John David Pahoyo failed to impress the judges, and even faltered completely in one dive each, to crash out of the medal picture in the country’s first event in the sport at the OCBC Aquatic Center – the men’s 3m springboard.
With easy dives (degree of difficulty of 2.4) in the first run, Fabriga’s and Pahoyo’s marks of 43.20 and 33.60 respectively, were so low compared to the rest of the field. That proved to be crucial, as they dug a hole too deep to recover from. Both divers even muffed their fourth attempts on the springboard of the reverse 3½ somersault from pike position. In the end, Fabriga ended in seventh with a total score of 236.90, while SEAG debutant, Pahoyo, finished last with 216.25
Athletics: Tabal snags marathon silver
The Philippine athletics contingent ushered in their campaign with the most arduous event of the biennial meet with men’s and women’s marathon at the Kallang Practice Track.
In the end of the competition, 25-year old Mary Joy Tabal, finished with the country’s first medal of the day and of the sport – a silver – with a time of 3:04:39. Thailand’s Thanaronnawat Nattaya took the gold, a minute ahead of the Filipina. Vietnam’s Hoang Thi Tranh rounded up the podium. The men were not as fortunate as veteran and former SEAG champion, Eduardo Buenavista, finished at fifth 2:39:26. Furthermore, his compatriot, Rafael Poliquit, did not finish the course.
The athletics competition will start on full swing at the National Stadium, Tuesday, June 9.
Billiards and Snooker: Golden Day for cue artists
In Day 2 of Billiards and Snooker competitions, at the OCBC Arena Hall 4, the country’s delegation provided stellar performances capped with another gold medal for Team PH.
It was not an ideal start, however, as Alvin Barbero dropped his pre-quarterfinals match, 1-4, against Ko Win Ko of Myanmar in men’s snooker singles. On the other table, Warren Kiamco and Carlo Biado booked their place in the afternoon’s gold medal match, with a win against Tou Lian Han and Aloysius Yapp. This proved to be the spark, as the wins started to come for women’s 9-ball singles, men’s 1-cushion carom, and men’s snooker singles. Furthermore, Michael Mengorio booked his place in the semifinals by edging Keng Kwang Chan of Singapore, 4-3. The legendary billiards hero, Efren “Bata” Reyes, also assured the Philippines a medal in carom. Reyes won 100-91 over Rudy Hasan of Indonesia in the round of 8. In the women’s side, Rubilen Amit and Chezka Centeno pushed an inch closer to a dream 1-2 finish by taking their slots in the Final Four. Amit dismantled Hasan’s compatriot Fathrah Masum, 7-2; while Centeno upended hometown bet Hui Ming Jessica Tan, 7-3.
The entries in the men’s English billiards singles failed to join the party. Reynaldo Grandea lost to Pham Hoai Nam of Vietnam, 1-3. ON the other hand, Myanmar Oo Kyaw won over Jeffrey Roda with the same scoreline to end the Nationals’ campaign in the event.
The Philippines would not be denied, nonetheless, in one of its pet events of the discipline. Vietnam’s Do Hoang Quan and Nguyen Anh Truan kept the gold medal match close, taking the racks wherein they broke, to peg the score at 3-apiece. Kiamco and Biado, then, drove to a 7-5 lead, only for Do and Nguyen to take the next frame. With one more rack to seal the victory at 8-6, the Filipino seeded players wasted no time and cleaned up the table to walk away with the gold.
Boxing: All delegates sent advance to the semifinals
Rogen Ladon started the day with an emphatic stoppage of Malaysia’s Muhammad Fuad Mohd Redzuan in men’s light flyweight action. The Malaysian did not continue after the second round and had to go to the scorecards with Ladon taking both rounds. The 2012 Taipei City Cup winner will face Laos’ Bounphone Lasavongsky in the semifinals, later at 4:00pm.
Lightweight, Junel Cantancio thrilled the audience with a second round TKO of East Timor’s Graciano Florindo de Jesus. The stoppage occurred at the 1:23 mark of the match. The 2013 SEA Games silver medalist moves on to the semifinals of the lightweight division and will face Saylom Ardee of Thailand at 6:30pm.
Filipino flyweight, Ian Bautista, who is competing in his second match in two days, escaped Thailand’s Butdee Chatchai to advance to the semifinals. Both boxers took a round each before going into the final round. Bautista turned on the volume in the final round to win the round in the eyes of the judges. The 2013 ASBC Youth Champion will face Laos’ Thongbang Seuaphom later at 4:45pm.
Bantamweight, “Super” Mario Fernandez swept all three rounds in his quarterfinals match against Tran Phu Cuong. The 2013 SEA Games gold medalist will square off against Myanmar’s Naing Latt later at 6:00pm.
Finally, the biggest boxer representing the country in this year’s SEA Games, Wilfredo Lopez, soundly defeated Indonesia’s Kristianus Sedo. Lopez won all three rounds. The 2013 SEA Games silver medalist will look to advance to this finals once more against Dinh Hoang Truong of Vietnam at 8:00pm today.
Equestrian: Lone dressage bet moves on
Maria Angelica Ayala made sure Philippine equestrian’s first venture into dressage in the Games will continue, when she advanced to the final round, at the Singapore Turf Riding Club Centre. Ayala scored 63.079 to finish sixth among 10 riders. The equestrienne scored a high of 64.211 from judge H and a low of 62.500 from judge B. Larasati Gading of Indonesia topped the qualifiers with 73.553.
The Filipino riders for later’s jumping individual event also had their training and horse inspection at the same venue on Sunday. Furthermore, Danielle Santos, Gabrielle Gavieta, and Chiara Amor all aim to regain the country’s reputation in the event in both the individual and team events.
Fencing: No golds but proud
The Filipino fencers ended their 2015 SEA Games campaign with two more silver medals in the women’s epee and men’s foil team events, Sunday, at the OCBC Arena Hall 2.
Indonesia denied the Philippines of a podium sweep as they squeaked past the country’s women’s sabre team, 45-44. UAAP standout and the Nationals’ anchor, Jylyn Nicanor scored six touches in the fifth bout to lead, 25-22. Indonesian Diah Permatasari steered her squad into the lead in the following pairing, 30-27. That lead continued to the anchor bout between her and Nicanor. In the end, Permatasari powered her team to the semifinals.
On the other hand, the male foilists breezed past Malaysia, 45-18, in their quarterfinals bout. Nathaniel Perez, Wilfred Curioso, and Brennan Louie limited the opponents to a maximum of four points to book their semifinals ticket. The women’s epee team also had an easy time dismantling Myanmar in the round of 8. Led by individual silver medalist, Harlene Raguin, the Nationals bucked Gabrielle Estimada’s off game to pull through with the victory, 45-25.
Perez and company then upended Thailand, which was led by individual champion, Nontapat Panchan, in the final four, with a score of 45-33. The Philippines pulled away in the fourth bout when Louie blanked Mayakarn Sopanut, 5-0, to pad on the lead at 20-13. That proved costly for the Thais, as the Filipinos never looked back and marched to the finals. On the other hand, the female epeeists pulled the rag off Singapore to advance to the gold medal match, 29-28. Estimada bounced back from her sluggish outing in the previous round to score 12 of the squad’s points in the semifinals match to steer themselves to the championships as well.
At the end of the day, the men’s foil and women’s epee teams bagged two more silvers as they lost the titles against Singapore and Vietnam, respectively. For the men, Perez scored seven points in the sixth bout to cut the lead to two, 28-30. The hosts limited Curioso and Louie to a combined five touches in the next two frames to pad on the lead at 40-33. The individual bronze medalist kept the Philippines in the fight, but ultimately Singapore took the win and the gold, 45-40. It was a different story for the epee squad when they settled for the silver after Vietnam pummelled them, 45-28. The battle at the podium was tight up to the fifth bout, 22-20, until the Vietnamese allowed just a point from Hanniel Abella and Estimada in the following rounds. Raguin could not rescue their hopes as the top seeds romped their way to gold.
The Philippine Fencing Association targeted golds in the Games, however, the athletes, unfortunately, were outmatched. Despite this fact, it was a successful campaign for the fencers, who collected four silvers and two bronzes.
Gymnastics: PH gymnasts swing their way to bronze
The country’s female gymnasts picked up from where the men left off, and took it a notch higher at the second day of the artistic gymnastics competitions at the Bishan Sports Hall.
The Philippines placed third in the team event with a score of 191.400, which earned the team a bronze medal for their efforts. Not only that, two Filipinas qualified for the individual all-around finals. Ava Lorein Verdeflor qualified with a score of 50.750, and Elizabeth Leduc managed to get in as well with a score of 49.900.
While there are no Filipino gymnasts who qualified directly to the vault finals, Ma. Cristina Onofre and Sofia Isabel Gonzalez nabbed reserve slots with scores of 12.925 and 12.875, respectively. For the uneven bars, Verdeflor notched the second highest individual score at 12.650, allowing her to qualify for the apparatus finals. Moreover, Leduc was unable to qualify; but with a score of 10.800, she earned a slot as a reserve.
Leduc finished third in the balance beam with a score of 13.050 to secure her place in the medal rounds of the apparatus. While Leduc was able to qualify, Verdeflor was put on reserve after finishing with a score of 12.600. Leduc and Verdeflor were also qualified for the floor exercise finals, with scores of 12.800 and 12.450, respectively.
Judo: Philippines ends with a bang, finishes campaign with gold
Failing to take home a gold on the first day, Day 2 of the SEAG Judo Tournament at EXPO Hall brought a good ending as the Philippines snared its lone judo gold, but not without cost.
2013 SEAG gold medalist and first Filipino champion of the Asian Judo Juniors Championship, Kiyomi Watanabe, competing in the Women’s 57-63kg weight division, proved to be the country’s shining star as she demolished her way to the country’s only judo gold. Facing off against host country’s Tania Forichon, Vietnam’s Thi Huong Nguyen, and Thailand’s Orapin Senatham, in that order, Watanabe showed she has what it takes to take the gold home again, when she delivered powerful throws towards dominating ippon victories for all her matches.
However her victory, as grand as it may be, did not come without cost for her efforts did not rub on to first-time SEAG judoka, Bianca Mae Estrella (Women’s 63-70kg weight division), and former SEAG bronze medalist, Kenji Yahata (Men’s 81-90kg weight division). The two judoka both fell in all their respective matches as they ended their tournament day ranked 7th and 5th, respectively.
Watanabe’s golden victory capped off the Philippines’ judo campaign for the biennial meet. The delegation also had two bronze medals from Gilbert Ramirez and Helen Dawa during the first day.
Petanque: Baking, Dela Cruz fail to advance
Arvin Baking failed to qualify for the semifinals of the men’s singles. Baking fell to Chhoeun Thong of Cambodia 13-6, Wee Teck Goh of Singapore, 13-5, Ron Ngo of Vietnam, 13-7, Phoudthala Keokannika of Laos, 13-7, Nay Myo Tun of Myanmar, 13-0, Muhd Hafizuddin Mat Daud of Malaysia, 13-5, and Supan Thongphoo, 13-4. He, however, won two of his matches: against Hadi Aulia Rachman of Indonesia, 13-7, and Mohamad Abdillah Tamin of Brunei, 13-12.
Similar to the Baking’s fate, Violeta De La Cruz did not make the next round. She earned victories over Alfath Annisa of Indonesia, 13-9, and Sreya Un of Cambodia, 13-9. Unfortunately, she fell against most of her opponents, namely: Suhartisera Zamri of Malaysia, 13-5, Nantawan Fueangsanit of Thailand, 13-5, Bovilak Tepphakan of Laos, 13-1, Khin Cherry Thet of Myanmar, 13-0, Thi Hu Mai Le of Vietnam, 13-8, and Boon Huay Heo of Singapore, 13-9.
The two petanque bowlers will have their last chance in the mixed doubles event, which starts on Monday.
Rugby: Volcanoes erupt to secure podium finishes
Despite contrasting fates after Day 1 of competitions, both the men’s and women’s national rugby sevens team entered the final matches of the 2015 Games, at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium with the podium in sight.
The Volcanoes started their Sunday with a 43-0 romp of Laos. Four different players scored the team’s first four tries to keep the match out of reach, even after the first half. Converted tries off Matthew Saunders and Andrew Wolff in the following period completed the rout for the Philippines. In their following match, the Nationals shrugged off a feisty Malaysian squad, 14-10, to remain undefeated in the preliminaries, and booked their ticket to the gold medal match. Two converted tries in the first period was enough for the country to get a shot at gold.
It was not as easy for the first-time SEAG participants, Lady Volcanoes, however. Singapore scored tries in both halves against the Nationals to propel themselves to the championship match, 12-7. The Philippines bounced back in their match against Malaysia, 27-0. In a preview of the bronze medal match, the Filipinas erupted to 22 points off four tries in the second period to win their final match of the preliminaries. Later that afternoon, the women’s rugby sevens team snared the bronze in their Games debut, as they repeated their blanking of the Malaysians, 22-0, in the third place playoff. Back Aiumi Ono picked up from where she left off in the Day 1 to score a try and a conversion in the victory.
In the final event of the 2015 SEAG rugby sevens competitions, the Philippines notched its first-ever Games gold medal after they upended Malaysia, 24-7. It was a different story in the finals as compared to the round robin matchup, when the Volcanoes limited the opponent to just one converted try in the second period. Five minutes into the first half, Patrice Olivier touched the in-goal area for the breakthrough try. The 2013 World Cup participants never looked back as they snared two more converted tries in the payoff period to peg the score and deliver on their gold medal promise.
Shooting: Men’s precision pistol team take home bronze
The team of Mar Udan, Jerome Morales, and Lamberto Espiritu took home bronze in the precision pistol team competition. Udan (588-32x), Morales (579-26x), and Espiritu (575-16x) combined for 1742-74x that was only good for third in the four country competition. Singapore settled for silver with 1754-84x while Thailand won the competition with 1762-89x.
Table Tennis: Paddlers bow out of contention
The men’s team composed of singles silver medalist Richard Gonzales, veteran Rodel Valle, and upstart Ryan Jacolo, failed to reach the medal rounds after dropping their last two ties of the pool phase. The Philippines lost to Thailand and Vietnam, both in 1-3 scorelines to end their campaign with one win and three losses.
In their first assignment, Gonzales won the first match against Wongsiri Nikom, 3-1. However, the Thais swept the next three matches with Tanviriyachevakul Padasat winning the first and the third matches against Jacolo and Gonzales, respectively. Chaitat Chaisit won the other match against Valle. The Nationals could not recover as they faltered against the Viets in their last tie. It was still the veteran Gonzales who took the lone win for the Philippines in a five-set victory over Dinh Quang Linh. Nguyen Anh Tu clinched it for his squad against Jacolo in straight sets fashion.
With the losses, the Philippine table tennis team closed their participation in the Games with a lone silver medal from Gonzales in the men’s singles.
Tennis: Philippines books semis seats
Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams assured the country two medals in the Games over the weekend at the Kallang Tennis Centre, albeit in contrasting styles.
The Male Netters swept Cambodia, 3-0, and booked their place in the semifinals. Ruben Gonzales Jr. won over Mam Phalkun, 6-3 7-5, to take the lead for the Philippines. 2014 ITF Futures champion Jeson Patrombon clinched the semis ticket, surviving Kenny Bun in three sets, 6-2 2-6 6-2. The duo of top-ranked doubles player Treat Huey and US NCAA stalwart Francis Casey Alcantara completed the rout with a 6-3 6-1 win against Delton Kim and Long Samnaeng.
The Females Netters bucked an opening match loss, 2-1, and earned a final four berth, as well. UAAP Most Valuable Player Clarice Patrimonio dropped the first singles match in three sets against Si Boi Ngoc, 3-6 6-2 4-6. Katharina Lehnert tied it up with a sweep of Tran Thi Tam, 6-2 6-1. Lehnert then partnered with one-half of the reigning SEAG mixed doubles champion, Denise Dy, to propel the Nationals to the next round. The Filipinas won over Si and Tran, 6-0 6-3.
Both teams will battle Indonesia on Monday to get a shot at the gold medals for their respective events.
Triathlon: Huelgas proves Filipino dominance in the SEA Games
Not to be outdone by Claire Adorna’s gold medal performance in the Women’s Division, Nikko Bryan Huelgas provided the Philippines’ second gold medal in the Games by finishing in 2:04:32, a minute and three seconds clear of Malaysia’s Rikigoro Shinozuka who crossed the line at 2:05:35. Singapore’s Chuan Rong Loo rounded out the podium by obtaining a time of 2:07:01.
It was a decade long dream fulfilled for the former De La Salle University tanker Huelgas to compete and win in the SEA Games Triathlon. It wasn’t a smooth sailing ride though as he finished the swim leg at 4th place in 20:27 but slowly went up the ranks by clocking 1:04:32 in the bike leg allowing him to take the 2nd spot before eventually breaking away from the pack with his blistering 10km run that registered 38:43.
Teammate Jonard Saim only managed to finish at 6th place in 2:10:18. All in all, it was a successful SEA Games campaign for the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) providing two gold medals and a silver medal.
Wushu: Parantac delivers first gold
Mixed results characterized Day 2 of the national wushu delegation at the EXPO Hall 2, but it ended on a high note with an expected gold clinched by the conclusion of the sessions.
2014 Asian Games silver medalist Daniel Parantac registered 9.17 in the men’s optional taijijian to collect his first gold medal of the biennial meet. Jack Chang Loh of Malaysia and Julius Kurniawan of Indonesia rounded up the podium with 9.69 and 9.6, respectively. In the combined nanquan and nangun event, 23-year old Thornton Sayan finished 10th. Sayan made too many errors in his nangun routine, which only scored 8.78, relegating him to last place after two days. Similarly, Norlence Catolico ended 9th with 9.64 at the men’s optional cudgel event. Dave Degala did not participate in the aforementioned event due to right knee injury.
In sanda, Francisco Solis moved to the gold medal bout with a 2-0 win over Hendrik Tarigan of Indonesia in the semifinals. Clemente Tabugara Jr. failed to make it two Filipinos in the finals, losing to Nguyen Van Tai of Vietnam, 0-2.
Softball: MERCY RULE!
Just like in the UAAP, the Coach Ana Santiago and Coach Randy Dizer squads are dominating the SEA Games softball competition. The softball games are being held at Kallang Softball Field.
At 2:00pm, the women’s team opened the day with a 9-2 sixth inning mercy rule win over Thailand. The Blu Girls then competed again at 6:15pm and again won via sixth inning mercy rule, 8-1, against the hosts, Singapore.
In the men’s side, the Blu Boys gave up a run in the opening inning of their game against Malaysia. The Filipinos then blasted four runs each in the bottom of the third and fourth innings to secure a fourth inning mercy win.
Swimming: PH campaign jumpstarts with three bronze medals
After enduring three near misses to the podium in Day 1, Team Philippines was able to end the second day with three bronze medals. Jasmine Alkhaldi started things off by finishing next to Singapore’s power duo of Tao Li and Quah Ting Wen in the Women’s 50m Butterfly. Tao Li reset her old SEA Games record by clocking in at 26.59, while Quah Ting Wen managed a time of 27.02. Alkhaldi was nearly half a second away with her time of 27.47, which is good enough for a new Philippine record. Teammate Hannah Dato finished in 27.91 seconds for a 7th place finish.
The second bronze medal of the Philippines came in the Women’s 200m Backstroke from Roxanne Ashley Yu, who was clearly behind eventual winner and new record holder, Vietnamese phenom Nguyễn Thị Ánh Viên (2:14.12). Yu, who finished in 2:18.45, and compatriot Elizabeth Ann Jordana, who finished 4th in 2:19.35, failed to mount a late rally to surpass eventual silver medalist Yessy Venesia Yosaputra (2:17.17) of Indonesia.
In the Men’s 100m Breaststroke, it was a three-way battle between the Philippines’ Joshua Hall, Malaysia’s Fu Kang Wong and Thailand’s Radomyos Matjiur. The three breaststrokers battled till the last stroke to determine their rankings. It was Wong who emerged victorious in 1:02.46. Matjiur ended up second in 1:02.63, while Hall was third in 1:02.87.
With the three bronze medals for Day 2 of the competition, the Filipino tankers are close to surpassing the four bronze medal output of the Philippines in the previous SEA Games. Below is the complete list of swimmers who competed in Day 2 of SEA Games Swimming:
|Women’s 50m Butterfly|
|Men’s 100m Freestyle|
|5th||Jessie Khing Lacuna||51.29|
|9th||Axel Toni Steven Ngui||52.37|
|Women’s 200m Backstroke|
|3rd||Roxanne Ashley Yu||2:18.45|
|4th||Elizabeth Ann Jordana||2:19.35|
|Men’s 100m Breaststroke|
|Women’s 200m Individual Medley|
|Men’s 800m Freestyle Relay|
|5th||1 – Axel Toni Steven Ngui (1:55.36)||7:41.78|
|2 – Jose Joaquin Gonzalez (1:54.32)|
|3 – Aldrich McKirdy (2:00.33)|
|4 – Jessie Khing Lacuna (1:51.77)|
*Philippine National Record
Football: After taking early lead, U23 Azkals succumb against rampant Myanmar
Despite taking an early lead courtesy of Shirmar Felongco, the Philippines were slaughtered 5-1 by the red-hot Myanmar team who look on course of taking home at least a medal in the football tournament of the 28th South East Asian (SEA) Games on Sunday evening at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
With the result, the still-winless Philippines falls out of contention in making it to the semifinals. They will target a positive exit when they take on Indonesia in two days. Meanwhile, their conquerors Myanmar ensured their progress by claiming their third win in as many games while still having a game to spare against Cambodia.
Joshua Munzon, Westsports snap Saigon’s streak in highly emotional contest
Entering Wednesday night’s game, Mikey Williams and the Saigon Heat were on a high, slaying the winning streaks of Hong Kong Eastern and Nanhai Kung Fu. However, Joshua Munzon and the Westsports Malaysia Dragons had other things in mind, keeping the Heat winless at the MABA Stadium, 91-87.
In his fourth game since returning to the Dragons, Munzon filled up the stat sheet, tallying 18 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks.
Besides putting up the numbers, the athletic swingman from California helped limit reigning Heritage Player of the Week Williams to his worst game so far in the ABL. Averaging 27.33 points, 6.67 assists, and 6.0 rebounds prior to this game, Williams went field goal-less against the Dragons, missing all 11 of his attempts. The Filipino-American floor general was able to dish out eight assists and grab five caroms.
Westsports led by as much as 11 points in the final frame, 82-71, after Munzon found Marcus Marshall for a triple with 4:59 remaining. Behind World Imports Akeem Scott and Maxie Esho, the Heat stormed right back but was answered by a long bomb by Munzon to keep them at bay.
Marshall and Scott figured in a shootout to close out the game but in the end, the hosts were still able to etch out their second straight victory.
Marshall finished the game with 25 points, nine assists and six rebounds for the Dragons while Scott’s 44-point game went for naught.
After the emotionally charged contest though, few unkind words were exchanged by the officials of both squads that almost resulted into a brawl. Fortunately, things did not escalate beyond that.
In the video, Munzon was also seen shoving a Saigon player to try and pacify the situation. The league is currently investigating the post-game incident.
With the win, Westsports Malaysia raised its record to 3-4 while dropping Saigon to 4-3.
Edward Kelly honored to fight alongside brother Eric
Eric and Edward Kelly lived under the same roof for years in their hometown of Baguio City when they were young and shared the same burning passion in martial arts.
Growing up in the small town community of San Tomas Central, located within the city limits of Baguio, Eric and Edward did not always get along with one another as the two fought all the time, sometimes even resulting in injury.
“We were not that close before. We always fought. In short, Eric and I were headaches to our parents,” Edward recalled in jest.
“But of course, things change when you grow up and mature. We now appreciate each other’s company.”
Fortunately, when the brothers entered high school, Eric discovered martial arts, and everything would change for both of them.
Edward paid attention to the growing accolades of his older brother and was heavily motivated by it.
“I noticed after he started martial arts that it taught him the discipline not to fight me as a brother. Instead, he started giving me advice through what he had learned,” he bared. “I also joined martial arts because it teaches you discipline, and a lot of other positives, too.”
Years later, both men have made remarkable runs as outstanding martial artists in their respective professional careers.
Eric is widely regarded as one of the best homegrown martial arts athletes to come out of the Philippines.
A Wushu practitioner who combines solid striking techniques with high-level grappling skills, Eric owns nine scintillating submissions and one knockout out of 12 total career victories.
Eric’s most impressive showing to date came in a submission win over Rob Lisita in July 2014, a performance that earned him the USD 50,000 ONE Warrior Bonus.
Meanwhile, Edward is considered as one of the best and brightest featherweight prospects to emerge from the well-established martial arts scene in the Philippines.
With a complete striking and grappling skill set, Edward brings Team Lakay’s world-renowned Wushu to center stage as he showcases his impeccable skillset inside the ONE Championship cage.
In addition, the younger Kelly has won three of his last four bouts under the ONE Championship banner, all by spectacular finish.
The Kelly brothers get a rare chance on Friday, January 26 as the siblings will compete side-by-side when ONE Championship holds its first of the four scheduled events in the country for 2018.
It is the first time both of them will be featured at a ONE Championship event together, and Edward plans to make it a night they will never forget.
“I am so excited because finally, it’s going to happen. It marks the first time that I will compete alongside my older brother. Surely, it’s going to be a memorable night for the both of us,” he said.
“We have the same aim of winning. So making it two for two on this card will make this extra special.”
As Eric seeks to get back on the winning track at the expense of Nunes, Edward is likewise looking to move forward in his career after getting his three-bout winning streak snapped by American stalwart Emilio Urrutia in August 2017.
In his next cage outing, Edward goes up against Meul, a undefeated promotional newcomer with six wins to his credit.
“My coaches has prepared me well for this. I am not going to disappoint my team and my country when I enter that cage on 26th of January,” Edward assured. “I don’t want to let my countrymen down this time. I am here to give them a great bout.
“And of course, win the bout in impressive fashion for them.”
Edward has no qualms if he has to go full three rounds with Meul, but he admitted that his sights are always set on securing the finish.
“I am looking to dominate him for three rounds. But hopefully, I can get the finish,” he vowed.
“A finish will be the perfect way to tell the world that I am back.”
Roger Pogoy churns best performance against former teammates
Prior to Wednesday, all eyes were on the TNT Katropa-Blackwater Elite face-off, with many curious to see how last season’s Rookie of the Year Roger Pogoy would fare against his former FEU teammates Mac Belo and Raymar Jose.
And as the final buzzer sounded, the 25-year-old Pogoy had reigned triumphant over his close pals, getting away with a conference-best performance as a bonus.
The six-foot-two Cebuano sniper fired a game-high 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting, along with eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals, to lead the Texters to a skid-ending, 92-83 victory at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
“Must-win talaga namin ‘to para makabawi kami, kasi 1-2 na yung standing namin (before the game) eh.
“Buti na lang maganda yung nilaro ko,” said Pogoy, who was just averaging 11.3 points in the past three games.
But Pogoy tipped his hat to the much taller Elite, who enjoyed plenty of time in the driver’s seat in the first half, until the Katropa found their groove in the third canto — highlighted by a 16-3 rally that put them ahead, 60-53.
“Malakas yung Blackwater eh, tapos ang lalaki nila kaya mahirap mag-drive, mahirap pumasa kasi naagaw nila,” said Pogoy. “Buti na lang naka-adjust kami nung second half. Hindi kami nagmadali, dinahan-dahan namin.”
Aside from his own outing, Pogoy is thankful that they were able to address their fourth quarter woes when facing the Elite — the issue that hounded them in their 76-88 loss to the San Miguel Beermen last Saturday in Iloilo.
TNT had actually been mere steps away from melting down — again — against Blackwater, no thanks to a 20-9 run that wiped out their 17-point lead to just six,
With Nash Racela knowing his tendencies, Mac Belo limited to poor shooting
Prior to Wednesday, Blackwater Elite’s young star Mac Belo was on a roll early in the 2018 Philippine Cup, averaging exactly 20 points on 42.6 percent shooting in their games against Meralco, Rain or Shine, and Ginebra.
But, as they say, good things must come to an end.
Belo, despite having 13 rebounds, was held to just nine points on 4-of-18 shooting as the Elite bowed to TNT Katropa, 92-83 — a sour loss knowing that they’re coming off huge 94-77 win against Ginebra last Friday.
“Bukol,” said Belo in jest of his poor outing after the match. “Big test para sa’min kasi yung TNT talagang isang de-kalibreng team dito sa PBA.
“Talagang pinaghandaan nila kami, at gustong-gusto nila manalo.”
It also did not help that the Katropa’s head coach, Nash Racela, was his coach in FEU Tamaraws for three years — a relationship brightly highlighted by a championship run in the UAAP Season 78 back in 2015.
“Siyempre alam niya yung mga tendencies ko. Matagal ko siyang coach sa FEU,” said the 6-foot-4 forward.
“Sa akin naman, kailangan ko pa matuto sa ganun, kung anong mga defense binabato niya sakin. Kailangan ko pang pag-aralan.”
But for Belo, the loss was more than his own showing. The 25-year-old lamented his and the Elite’s lapses on defense, which was encapsulated by the second half collapse they had that allowed TNT to come back and steal the win.
“Medyo marami lang kaming lapses especially sa defense namin,” said the sophomore forward, as they allowed TNT to shoot 41.6 percent from the floor. “Maraming mga miscommunication na kailangan pa namin i-work.”
Belo and the Elite are now set to move on from this bitter defeat, as they all shift their sights in their match this Friday versus GlobalPort Batang Pier. For the Gilas Pilipinas stalwart, it is already a must-win for them.
“Kailangan namin ng rest ngayon kasi back-to-back games kami. We need to win sa Friday para okay sa’min,” said Belo. “Kailangan din namin paghandaan kasi galing sila sa win.
“Kailangan namin i-double yung effort namin.”
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