By JONAS TERRADO
Veteran Richard Gonzales and John Misal secured the country’s first-ever medal in men’s table tennis doubles despite falling short to Singapore’s Clarence Chew and Ethan Pow in the final of the 31st Southeast Asian Games.
Misal and Gonzales lost 3-1 to their Singaporean counterparts in the match held Wednesday at the Hai Duong Gymnasium in Hanoi, Vietnam, to settle for a silver.
The Philippines had never won a medal in men’s doubles prior to the start of this year’s regional meet.
Gonzales, 51, won his 10th SEA Games medal, adding to his two silvers (2005 and 2015 in men’s singles) and seven bronzes (1999, 2009, 2013, 2017 and 2019 in men’s singles, 2005 in men’s team and 2011 in men’s doubles).
A former UAAP standout for National University, Misal claimed a SEA Games medal for the first time in his career.
They started off their campaign by defeating Cambodia’s Visal Bun and Yukheang Kang (3-0) in the round-of-16 and Thailand’s Phakpoom Sanguansin and Padasak Tanviriyavechakul (3-2) in the quarters.
Misal and Gonzales then stunned Singapore’s Josh Chua and Pang Yew, silver medalists in the 2019 Games at Subic Bay Freeport, to assure themselves of a podium finish.