Nearly 400 athletes from the Philippines are competing in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou which was postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That is over 120 more than were sent to the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, where Team Philippines won a total of 21 medals – 4 gold, 2 silver, and 15 bronze, to finish in 19th place. They will be aiming to surpass their tally but have gotten off to a rocky start.
Thus far Philippines has been able to win only 2 bronze medals: one by Patrick King Perez in men’s individual poomsae, Taekwondo and another by Jones Llabres Inso in Wushu men’s taijiquan.
Alex Eala also advanced to the semifinals of the women’s singles tennis tournament after completing a comeback victory over Japan’s Kyoka Okamura, 0-6, 7-5, 6-0 on Wednesday at the HOC Tennis Centre in China. The 18-year-old Eala is now guaranteed at least a bronze medal in her Asian Games debut.
The win marks the first time in 17 years that the Philippines has won a tennis medal at the Asian Games. Eala will go to face off against either Qinwen Zheng of China or South Korea’s Sohyun Park in the semi finals.
Skateboarder Margielyn Didal was unable to defend her title from four years ago, finishing in 8th at the women’s skateboarding finals. The 24-year-old was only able to muster scores of 23.39 in the first round and 12.83 in the second round. Didal had sustained an injury on her left foot during a competition in Brazil in 2022 which likely played a large role in her disappointing finish.
Gilas Start Off Strong Against Bahrain
The Gilas Pilipinas quest for its first Asian Games medal in 25 years began on a high note with the team beating Bahrain handily by the score of 89-61 this Tuesday.
CJ Perez and Ange Kouame led the way, each scoring 15 points in the Group C matchup. Justin Brownlee added 14 points to go along with nine rebounds and Calvin Oftana finished in double figures with 10 points. The Philippines shot at 46 percent compared with Bahrain who were only able to make 30 percent of their shots from the field.
After a relatively close first quarter, the Philippines pulled away and never looked back, building a 18 point lead by halftime. They then went on to add another 7 points to their lead in the 3rd and finish with a massive 28 point deficit.
Gilas will go on to play Thailand on Thursday and Jordan on Saturday to round out their Group C group stage games.
Filipinas Lose to South Korea, 5-1
The Philippine women’s football team lost to a talented South Korean team, 5-1, on Monday at the Wenzhou Sports Centre Stadium.
The Filipinas actually opened the scoring via a goal from Sarina Bolden eight minutes into the contest. From there however it was all downhill for the team as the Koreans dropped five unanswered goals which included a hat-trick by Hwayeon Son.
The Philippines fell to a 1-1 record in Group E and will now face Myanmar on Thursday in a crucial match to keep the team’s medal hopes alive.
Upcoming Medal Prospects
While Team Philippines has gotten off to a slow start, they still have a number of medal prospects for the backend of competition. A couple of the athletes to keep a lookout for include Olympic gold medalist weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz and world no. 2 ranked pole vaulter EJ Obiena.
The 32-year old Diaz holds two Olympic records in weightlifting and will be looking to repeat her gold medal performance from the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. On the other hand, EJ Obiena will be looking to make a big improvement on his 7th palace finish in 2018. He has already won the Asian Championships and Southeast Asian Games this year and came 2nd in the World Championships.