By NICK GIONGCO
JAKARTA – Rogen Ladon caught a bus to the finals of the 52 kg (flyweight) while Carlo Paaman and Eumir Felix Marcial bid goodbye to their gold medal hopes Friday in the boxing competitions of the 2018 Asian Games.
Ladon secured his spot in the gold medal bout after a resounding 5-0 victory over Yuttapong Tongdee of Thailand.
Paalam, 20, was handed a 3-2 decision loss by Amit Panghal of India in a closely-fought contest in the light-fly class that could have gone either way.
Marcial, the 2009 world junior champion, was also dealt an identical verdict in his semis showdown with another Uzbek fighter, Madrimov Israil, in the middleweight category.
With Paalam and Marcial settling for bronze, the Philippines now has a (gold-silver-bronze) tally of 4-1-15 and good for 18th place in the standings with five other Southeast Asian countries ahead: Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore.
Up next Saturday for Ladon will be fellow southpaw Jasurbek Latipov of Uzbekistan, a 4-1 victor over Azat Usenaliev of Kyrgyzstan, in the other semis pairing. They square off for the gold at 2:15 pm (3:15 pm in Manila).
In handling Tongdee, Ladon banked on a simple yet tried and tested strategy: the basic one-two combination.
Tongdee was the recipient of Ladon’s right jab-left straight combo in the clash that was witnessed by Philippine Olympic Committee chief and boxing head Ricky Vargas and POC chairman and cycling leader Bambol
“I just followed what my coaches asked me to do,” said Ladon, 24, the 2015 world championships bronze medalist.
Head coach Ronald Chavez, formerly an amateur standout, said the gameplan was perfectly executed.
“The plan was for Rogen to just use his right to set up his left hand and that’s exactly what happened. The left straight found its mark,” said Chavez.
Against Latipov, Chavez already has something in mind that he believes will enhance Ladon’s chances of winning in his Asian Games debut.
Still, Ladon will climb the ring to face Latipov with a handicap.
A wound on Ladon’s right eyebrow that he suffered during his opening bout worsened a bit following his semis win.
The rugged Latipov, who resorted to rough tactics against Usenaliev, is expected to target that spot in their finals duel.
CAGERS FINISH 5TH
In basketball, the Philippines captured fifth place after downing Syria, 109-55.
Over at volleyball, the women’s team dropped a five-setter to
Kazakhstan, 25-11, 22-25, 25-15, 19-25, 16-14, as it blew its chance of fighting for fifth place.
With the loss, the Philippines plays before a highly-partisan crowd Saturday when it meets Indonesia in a return match following the host country’s 25-20, 25-20, 24-26, 25-22 victory in the preliminary. They face off for seventh place.
Earlier in the day, triathlon attempted to join the cast of medalists but Kim Mangrobang and Kim Kilgroe failed to medal and only placed seventh and ninth, respectively.
With the heat playing a factor, the 26-year-old Mangrobang submitted a clocking of two hours, five minutes and two seconds.
The other Kim—Kilgroe—finished with a clocking of 2:06.57. Japanese Yuko Takahashi took the gold medal with a time of 1:59.29, while the silver went to Chinese Zhong Mengying, who came in at 2:01.16. Hoi Long of Macau got the bronze with a time of 2:01.28.