INCHEON, South Korea: Francisco Solis made it to the semifinals of the men’s sanda -56-kg. in wushu on Monday, assuring the Philippines of its first medal in the 2014 Asian Games.
The veteran Solis posted a 2-0 win over Ting Hong Wong of Hong Kong at the Ganghwa Dolmens Gymnasium and will repechage stage of the men’s lightweight double sculls in six minutes and 40.95 seconds to get a shot at a medal in Wednesday’s finals.
Joining them in the finals are preliminary round topnotchers Takahiro Suda and Hideki Omoto of Japan, Roopendra Singh and Manjeet Singh of India, Dong Tianfeng and Kong Deming of China, Chow Kwong Wing and Tang Chiu Mang of Hong Kong, and fellow repechage qualifiers Porntawat Inlee and Jaruwat Saensuk of Thailand.
Another Filipino, Benjamin Tolentino, wound up fourth in the men’s lightweight single sculls repechage with a time of 7:25.87.
At the Munhak Aquatics Center, Olympian Jasmine Alkhaldi swam the women’s 100-meter freestyle in 56.92 seconds to place ninth overall. Only the eight top swimmers made it to the finals later in the day.
The Philippines also had a bad day in fencing. Nathaniel Perez and Wilfred Richard Curioso dropped their matches in the men’s individual foil Round-of-16 at the Goyang Gymnasium.
Perez lost to Almansoori Majed Sultan Ali of United Arab Emirates, 15-11, and Curioso to Chen Haiwei of China, 15-5.
Gilas Pilipinas will start the gold-medal quest on Wednesday at the Hwaseing Sports Complex Gymnasium.
The Philippines faces India at 2 p.m. today (1 p.m. in Manila).
Reigning FIBA Asia champion Iran is also in Group E. The Philippines-Iran game will be on September 25 at 2 p.m. (1 p.m. in Manila).
Gilas Pilipinas only needs one victory to advance to the quarterfinals.
The team is made up of naturalized player Marcus Douthit, Jimmy Alapag, Japeth Aguilar, Paul Lee, June Mar Fajardo, Ranidel De Ocampo, Gabe Norwood, Jared Dillinger, LA Tenorio, Marc Pingris, Jeff Chan and Gary David.
In the 2010 Asiad in Guangzhou, China, the Philippines finished sixth behind defending champion China, South Korea, Iran, Japan and Qatar.
Wushu artists Divine Wally, Francisco Solis and Jean Clause Saclag were scheduled to play in the quarterfinals late Monday.
As of 6 p.m. (5 p.m. in Manila), powerhouse China leads the gold medal race with 17 with host South Korea right behind with 13, and Japan a far third with seven.
While the Philippines remained medal-less, the other Southeast Asian countries —Myanmar, Vietnam and Malaysia—have already secured golds in different fronts.
Myanmar got two golds in sepak takraw, and Vietnam and Malaysia grabbed one each in wushu.