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Filipino archers absorb heartbreaking end to compound event bid

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SEA-Games2
Paul Marton dela Cruz and Amaya Paz-Cojuangco of the Philippines battle Chau Kieu Kanh and Tien Cuong Nguyen of Vietnam in the bronze medal match of the mixed compound event of the 29th Southeast Asian Games Friday at the Merdeka Square in Kuala Lumpur. The Filipinos lost, 156-159. Photo credit: PSC-POC Media Group

THE Philippines missed out on a chance to bag a gold medal in the compound event in archery at the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, after the tandem of Paul Marton dela Cruz and Amaya Paz-Cojuangco fell in the semifinals of the mixed team compound competition held yesterday at Merdeka Square.

SEA-Games2
Paul Marton dela Cruz and Amaya Paz-Cojuangco of the Philippines battle Chau Kieu Kanh and Tien Cuong Nguyen of Vietnam in the bronze medal match of the mixed compound event of the 29th Southeast Asian Games Friday at the Merdeka Square in Kuala Lumpur. The Filipinos lost, 156-159. Photo credit: PSC-POC Media Group

The lone Filipinos left who had a shot at a gold in the compound event of the biennial regional meet, Mr. Dela Cruz and Cojuangco saw their hopes of finishing at the top of their division crushed when they lost to the duo of Aung Ngaan and Ye Min Swe of Myanmar in a shoot-off.

Making matters worse for the Filipino mixed team duo was that they eventually wound up outside of a podium finish as they lost to the Vietnam team, 156-159, in the bronze-medal match.

The Philippines was leading Myanmar in their semifinal encounter only to see the latter make its way from behind to tie the match at 154-all to force the shoot-off.

In the shoot-off, Messrs. Dela Cruz and Ye Min Swe both shot 10s, but the Myanmar archer’s arrow was closer to the bullseye, lifting his team to the finals against eventual gold medalist and host Malaysia.

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Recognizing that they saw a medal opportunity slip away, Ms. Cojuangco was sad and apologetic afterwards, saying “There is no story here because we lost. We’re very sorry,” Ms. Cojuangco was quoted as saying in the vernacular after their event.

With the result, the Philippine compound archery team wound up with two bronze medals care of Mr. Dela Cruz in the men’s compound and the trio of Earl Yap, Joseph Benjamin Vicencio and Mr. Dela Cruz in the men’s team compound.

It was lower than the one silver and the two bronzes that the team took home in the Singapore SEA Games in 2015.

“We were surprised by the strength of the field here,” said coach Clint Sayo in assessing what transpired in the compound event.

“All of these squads trained hard. But since archery is also a mental game, you have to maintain your calm under pressure. The other archers were more consistent in doing that. It’s all a matter of here and here” said Mr. Sayo, a gold medalist in the 1995 Thailand SEA Games, pointing to his heart and head.

Local archery focus now shifts to the Philippine recurve team as the men’s and women’s team recurve contests take place at the National Sports School Synthetic Turf Field on Monday.

Meanwhile, Filipino synchronized swimmers Alyssa Marey Salvador and Ruth Desiree Abiera made it to the finals of the women’s duets technical routine synchronized swimming competition but it was not enough to overcome eventually winners Miya Yong Hsing and Debbie Soh Li Fei of Singapore.

The Filipinos scored 53.39 while the Singaporeans tallied 75.17. – Michael Angelo S. Murillo

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