By NICK GIONGCO
JAKARTA – The Philippines produced a medal Friday to break a brief dry spell in the 2018 Asian Games.
But it wasn’t exactly the color everyone wanted to lay their eyes on.
Meggie Ochoa of Jiu-jitsu joined gymnast Carlos Yulo on the growing list of Filipino athletes earlier trumpeted as sure gold medalists when she could only settle for the bronze medal in the 49 kg class.
Ochoa, a former world champion and multi-titled martial artist, beat another Filipino bet, Kaila Napolis, 2-0, to snare the bronze.
It was a disappointing finish for Ochoa, who assured the role of top favorite on the strength of her top finishes overseas the last few months.
Vietnam’s Thi Thanh Minh ruined Ochoa’s gold hopes in the quarterfinals when she won by advantage.
Ochoa admitted that Minh deserved the verdict even though she had beaten the same foe before.
Ochoa’s bronze was hardly felt in the leaderboard as the Philippines even dropped to 20th place with a gold-silver-bronze tally of 1-0-6, way behind leaders China (60-41-23), Japan (27-29-37) and Korea (20-23-28) and even Southeast Asian rivals and fifth placer Indonesia (9-8-13), eighth Thailand (6-4-20), 15th place Singapore (2-1-6), 16th Vietnam (1-5-9) and 18th Malaysia (1-3-1).
2 MORE BRONZES
Meantime, SEAG gold medalist Dines Dumaan and Jefferson Rhey Loon whipped their separate quarterfinal foes on Friday to book their spots in the semifinals to assure themselves of bronze medals.
Dumaan, who broke a 13-year-old gold-medal drought in the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur last year, outclassed India’s Naorem Boynao Singh, 5-0, in the men’s 50-55 kgs Class B quarterfinals while Loon made short work of Kyrgyzstan’s Almazbek Zamirov, 4-0, in the men’s Class D 60-65-kgs quarterfinals of tanding (sparring).
Princesslyn Enopia took a 0-5 beating at the hands of Laotian Sounthavong Olathai in the round-of-8 to bow out of the women’s 50-55 kgs Class D division.
Dumaan faces Malaysian Muhammad Fayzul Nazir while Loon takes on Vietnam Nguyen Ngoc Tuan in the semifinals on Sunday.
Yulo, who faltered in his favorite floor exercise on Thursday, tried his luck in the vault and narrowly missed the bronze with a fourth place finish.
Shek Wai Hung of Hong Kong took the gold with a score of 14.612 while Kim Hansol of Korea, who topped the floor exercise, settled for the silver with a 15.550. The bronze went to Agus Prayoko of Indonesia with a 14.125.
Yulo garnered 13.662, ending his bid in tatters.
The Philippines resumes its campaign Saturday with boxing making its move in the preliminaries.
Mario Fernandez meets Al Sudani Jaafar of Iraq in the 56 kg class (bantamweight) after feather Nesthy Petecio (57 kg) and welter Joel Bacho (69 kg) made their respective debut late Thursday.
A hostile crowd will be on hand when the celebrated women’s volleyball squad faces the host country, nursing hopes that a victory over the 2017 Southeast Asian Games silver medalist will gave them the much-needed boost in the quarterfinals.
Fresh from a straight sets win over perennial victim Hong Kong, the Philippines are on a collision course with superpower China and Korea.