NANJING: When no one else was looking, tae kwon do standout Francis Agojo won the silver medal for the Philippines as the second Asian Youth Games entered its final days here.
The student of Ateneo de Manila dished out his best in beating Malaysian Navin Ari Krisnasamy in the quarterfinals, 11-4, and Kazakhstan’s Yerassyl Kaiyrbek in the semifinals, 9-8.
Agojo, who will turn 17 in November, advanced to the 53 kg finals against Thailand’s Ramnarong Sawekwiharee but ran out of bullets and lost the match, 11-7.
Still, it was a victorious day for Philippine tae kwon do, considering the level of competition in this 45-nation event for the best athletes aged 14-17.
Agojo’s victory came when most of the Filipinos here were scattered in different venues, mostly looking for victories in lawn tennis and 3-on-3 basketball.
Agojo fought his medal match with only his coach, Dax Morfe, and teammate, Pauline Lopez, cheering him on at the Longtian Gym.
Lopez was still scheduled to compete yesterday in girls’ 55 kg.
“I tried my best to win the gold for our country but I’m happy and proud of what I achieved here,” said Agojo, winner of the gold medal in last year’s tough Korea Open.
The Filipino athletes now have one gold and two silver medals in the bag with only two days of action left.
Mia Legaspi and Princess Superal scored a one-two finish in girls’ golf the other day, assuring the Philippines of a better finish than in 2009 in Singapore (one silver and one bronze).
Jurence Mendoza is in the semis of boys’ tennis and is already assured of a bronze. He was scheduled to face Indian Garvit Batra on Thursday, eyeing a slot in the finals.
Mendoza chances brightened up after Chinese top seed Zheng Weiqiang, the No. 55 youth player in the world, was stunned by Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Popko in the quarterfinals, 6-4, 6-3.
The Philippines’ suffered a painful loss to 3-on-3 basketball on Wednesday evening when Isaac Go, Patrick Ramirez and Andrei Carucot lost to Iran, 16-14, in the quarterfinals.
The Filipino dribblers, who came here one man short, took a big 9-1 lead only to allow the Iranians to catch up and grab the lead at 14-13 with only 48 seconds left.
“It was a won ballgame but playing here minus one player as substitute has already taken its toll on our players. But they still fought hard,” said coach Nic Jorge.
The 3-on-3 team was formed at the last minute after the original choices begged off at the last minute due to studies. The loss to Iran was followed by another 21-18 defeat to Malaysia.
The Filipino dribblers, who can get the crowd here going with their moves inside the court, was playing a consolation match as of presstime.