|Filipino tankers Jessie King Lacuna and Jasmine Alkhaldi made a big splash at the pool even as the country’s three-on-three basketball team faltered in Day 2 of the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.
Lacuna, 16, finished third in the fifth of the six-heat 200-meter freestyle event in a minute and 51.52 seconds to barge into the finals where he is seeded seventh out of eight.
The 17-year-old Alkhaldi, for her part, managed only a fifth place effort in her heat by clocking 58.16 seconds but still made it to the semifinals of her favorite event—the 100m free.
The cage squad of Bobby Ray Parks, Jr., Jeron Teng, Cris Michael Tolomia and Michael Pate wasn’t as fortunate though as it bowed to US Virgin Islands, 28-34, in Day 2 of the basketball competitions at the *Scape Youth Space.
RP chief de mission and aquatics chief Mark Joseph thinks though that their best is yet to come.
“It’s not her (Alkhaldi) her best time yet, she just swam to qualify first and from her original rank of 16th she climbed to 13th,” said Joseph.
“Lacuna made the finals in the 200m freestyle and ranks seventh in the world.
“We are going to try to medal in swimming tonight (last night). It’s a tight field. The last time a Filipino made the finals in the Olympics was 82 years ago,” he added.
It’s easier said than done though.
Lacuna, a product of the Palarong Pambansa and the Philippine Olympic Committee’s Philippine Olympic Festival, finished seventh overall, or more than a second off the best finisher in the group after the morning heats—Russian Andrey Ushakov (1:50.34).
Also making the 100m free finale, which was still being contested last night, were Venezuelan Cristian Quintero (1:50.93), Kiwi Matt Stanley (1:51.21), Canadian Chad Bobrosky (1:51.36), Chinese Dai Jun (1:51.42), Canadian Jeremy Bagshaw (1:51.42) and Dutch Dion Dressen (1:51.90).
Alkhaldi, ranked 16th in the world going into the event, in contrast, was 13th best or more than two seconds behind Aussie Emma McKeon’s time of 56.04.
In basketball the Filipinos just proved no match for the taller dribblers of US Virgin Island, the same country where the San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan was born, as the former trailed at the half, 12-21, and tried to fight their way back but failed.
Small but speedy Kadeem Jones torched RP with 16 points including four from beyond the arc while Rasheed Swanton drained a pair of booming triples to finish with eight points as US Virgin Island, which demolished South Africa, 28-12, Sunday, posted its second win in a row.
The 6-5 tandem of Amadeus der Weer and Javier Martinez combined for 10 points and 10 rebounds to stall the Nationals’ bid of putting a foot in the quarterfinals.
Instead, the loss sent the Mon Jose-mentored team to the brink.
Teng and Fil-Am Parks, sons of former PBA star Alvin Teng and many-time PBA best import Bobby Parks, Sr., led RP with 12 and eight points, respectively; while Tolomia and Pate chipped in six and two points.
The Filipinos will then battle it out with powerhouse Spain today, title contender Croatia tomorrow and South Africa Thursday needing at least two wins to advance to the quarters.
The swimmers’ effort somehow eased the pain of the heartbreaking losses suffered by netter Jeson Patrombon and taekwondo jin Kirk Barbosa in Sunday’s start of competition.
Barbosa, RP’s youngest entry at 15 years old, reeled from a bad start as he tried and failed to turn things around with a late charge as he fell to a taller Gili Haimovitz of Israel in the –48kg division.
Patrombon, in contrast, couldn’t cash in on his first set win and fell to
China’s No. 1 Boen Ouyang, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, to crash out in the singles division at the Kallang Tennis Center.
The Filipino ace, currently ranked inside the world’s Top 50, however will have a chance to redeem himself as he teams up with former world junior No. 1 Yuki Bambri of India in the doubles event on Friday.
Patricia Llena, the country’s flag bearer, will have her turn in the 63-kilogram class of weightlifting today at the Suntec Convention Center.
Llena is also touted as one of the country’s best chances to medal following her performance in Asian Weightlifting Championship in Dubai where she snared three silver medals.(pr)