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HANGZHOU – A long-time rival awaits Nesthy Petecio at the other end of the ring Friday when she finally makes her debut in the 19th Asian Games.

The Tokyo Olympic silver medal winner faces top seed Lin Yu Ting of Chinese Taipei in an early clash between the top contenders in the women’s 57 kg class.

The winner in the 3 p.m. match at the Hangzhou gymnasium will book a berth into the quarterfinals.

“Dito na magkaka-alaman,” said national coach Ronald Chavez of the highly-anticipated bout.

Petecio, 32, previously took the measure out of Lin during the Round of 16 of the Tokyo Olympiad, when the Filipina won their tightly-fought match by the skin of her teeth, 3-2, on her way to making the finals, where she eventually lost to gold medalist Sena Irie of Japan.

But the Asiad is an entirely new episode on the rivalry of the two.

Whereas Lin already had a bronze medal tucked under her belt which she won during the 2018 edition of the quadrennial meet in Palembang while still fighting at 51 kg class, the Asiad is the only one lacking in Petecio’s trophy case.

“Lagi lang akong quarterfinals,” she said of the two previous stints she had in 2018 and 2014 (Incheon, South Korea), respectively.

“(Kaya) sobrang challenging ito sa akin.”

Petecio, also a gold medal winner in the 2019 World Championship, will be the last of the nine-man boxing team to see action for the first time heading to the weekend, where the quarterfinals and semifinals are going to be held.

Heavyweight John Marvin was the latest Filipino fighter to advance after scoring a Referee Stopped Contest (RSC) against Rabin of Nepal late Wednesday night. He joins Olympic medalists Carlo Paalam and Eumir Felix Marcial in the next round as they try to give Philippine boxing its first Asiad gold since Rey Saludar (flyweight) in the 2010 edition in Guangzhou, China.

Marjon Pianar is fighting 2023 World Championship gold medalist Asadkhuja Muydinkhujaev of Uzbekistan in the Round of 16 of the men’s 71 kg class as of press time for a berth in the quarterfinals.

Somnuek Thananya of Thailand meanwhile, won by walkover against Rizza Pasuit, who was not with the Philippine boxing team here but was listed by Asiad organizers on the meet’s official website. (ai.mnm)

HANGZHOU, China—Alex Eala completely dominated Sarah Ibrahim Khan in her Asiad debut on Monday, whipping her Pakistani foe, 6-0, 6-0, in the 19th Asian Games at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre.

It took only 39 minutes for Eala to bring down the 32-year-old Khan, who is nearly half her age, and progress to the next round either against Kazakhstan’s Aruzhan Sagandykova or India’s Rutuja Bhosale.

“It was a great game and it was good for my confidence,’’ said Eala, who currently ranked No. 191 in the world.

Seeded fourth in the tournament, Eala limited Khan to only six points against her for the duration of their duel.

The 18-year-old Filipino tennis prodigy also asserted her might with five aces. “I think I came in with a great attitude and a great mindset,’’ said Eala.

She will likewise see action in the mixed doubles with Ruben Gonzales, both of them armed with impressive credentials.

Another member of the team is Francis Alcantara, who is aiming for a podium finish that will end the nation’s medal drought in the Games.

Filipino-American Cecil Mamiit was the last netter to spearhead the Philippines to a pair of bronzes in the 2006 Doha edition. (ai/mnm)

Image Courtesy of: UST Golden Tigresses and Spikers

THE University of Santo Tomas made a powerful statement in the 2023 Shakey’s Super League (SSL) Collegiate Pre-Season Championship by sweeping Letran with scores of 25-21, 25-23, 25-14 on Monday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

This victory not only kept UST unbeaten but also spoiled the debut of Letran’s new coach Oliver Almadro.

The Golden Tigresses exhibited their prowess by securing two closely contested sets before delivering a dominant performance in the third set to claim their second consecutive win in Pool A of the 16-team SSL.

Rising star Angeline Poyos once again shone with 13 points, featuring 11 successful attacks, an ace, and a block, as UST efficiently handled Letran. The match concluded in just 81 minutes, following UST’s earlier four-set victory over the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta.

Contributing to the team’s success, Xyza Gula added nine points, while setter Cassie Carballo displayed her versatility with seven points, including four aces. Regina Jurado and Kyla Cordora also made significant contributions with seven points each in UST’s well-rounded offensive strategy.

Coach Kungfu Reyes emphasized that there’s room for improvement, stating, “Hindi pa kami satisfied. Kailangan bigyan pa namin ng diin. Syempre, a win is a win pero ‘yung level ng nilalaro namin, kailangan itaas pa” (We’re not satisfied yet. We need to emphasize certain areas. Of course, a win is a win, but we need to elevate our level of play).

With one game remaining in the preliminary round, UST strengthened its quarterfinal prospects. Their last opponent in Pool B of SSL Season 2, presented in cooperation with the Commission on Higher Education and the Philippine Sports Commission, is the two-time NCAA champion College of St. Benilde, which is yet to make its debut.

In their opening match, UST faced Perpetual and secured a 25-12, 21-25, 25-15, 25-21 victory, although they faced an early challenge against Letran, coached by former Ateneo mentor Almadro. During a tense moment with a 19-20 deficit, UST rallied and finished strong with a 6-1 run, highlighted by Gula’s ace, to claim the first set with a score of 25-21.

In the second set, UST maintained control with a 22-18 lead, but Letran mounted a comeback, narrowing the gap to 23-24 with a powerful shot from Marie Nitura from the backrow. Once again, Gula came to the rescue, using a soft touch off the block to secure a 2-0 lead.

UST’s dominance carried into the third set, where they raced to an impressive 18-8 start, ultimately winning by a convincing 11-point margin.

Marie Nitura led the scoring for the Lady Knights with 12 points, and they look to bounce back with a win against CSB next Saturday.

All SSL games are accessible live and on-demand through the social media pages of Plus Network and SSL, with Solar Sports, Blast TV, and Aliw Channel 23 serving as TV partners. (ai/mnm)