The Philippine boys’ 15-under team made the semifinal of the 19th Southeast Asian Table Tennis Association Junior Championship Saturday at Harrison Plaza Mall in Manila.
The team, led by Palarong Pambansa standout Ryan Rodney Jacolo, is assured of a bronze medal after it beat Malaysia two games to 1 in the quarterfinals. The squad ended with a 2-1 slate in the elimination round.
Jacolo, 15, a varsity team member of National University, chalked up two victories against Malaysia.
He defeated Chua Tzong Lin, 11-7, 9-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-9, in the first single match while teammate Jann Nayre scored a 4-11, 11-7, 11-8, 7-11, 11-6 win over Leong Chee Feng in the second singles to give the Filipinos a 2-0 edge over the Malaysian.
Jacolo and Nayre, however, lost to Lin and Feng in the doubles, 4-11, 4-11, 7-11, to allow the Malaysian to narrow the gap to 1-2.
But Jacolo came out strong in the third single by beating Feng, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8, 11-4, to finally give the Philippines a semifinal date against powerhouse Thailand.
“It’s a good feeling that we’re already in the semifinals and we’re now assured of a bronze medal,” said boys’ 15-under national coach Lauro Crisostomo. “I’m confident our team could make it to the Top 4. We’re hoping to do our best in the semifinals.”
After losing to Singapore (2-3) in the opening day, the local boys’ 15-under team bashed Cambodia (3-0) and Brunei (3-0) in the elimination.
The Philippine team boys’ 18-under, girls’ 15-under and girls’ 18-under squads were earlier eliminated.
JOSEF T. RAMOS