World champion Josie Gabuco barged into the finals of the 48-kg. category in women’s boxing in the 2013 Southeast Asian Games in Naypyitaw, Myanmar.
The 27-year-old Gabuco scored a unanimous victory (40-34, 40-36, 40-34) over Sonrka Chanthavonrsa of Laos to stay in the hunt for her third straight SEA Games gold medal. Gabuco ruled the 2009 Laos and 2011 Indonesia editions.
Nesthy Petecio earlier earned a spot in the women’s featherweight finals.
In canoe-kayak, Hermie Macaranas finished fourth in the men’s C1 500-meter canoeing event, while Alex Generalo was sixth in the men’s MK 1,500m canoeing.
In swimming, London Olympian Jasmine Alkhaldi and Filipino-American Matt Louis Navatta advanced to the finals of their events.
Alkhaldi placed second overall in the preliminary round with a 57.76 time in the women’s 100m freestyle. Navatta clocked 4:34.04 to place third in the men’s 400m individual medley preliminaries.
The finals were scheduled on Thursday night.
In karatedo, 2011 Indonesia SEA Games bronze medalist Orencio James delos Santos opens his bid in the men’s kata category.
“Back then, I kinda felt more nervous and I was rather scrawny at that time. I’ve now bulked up and I have more power and speed. I’ve also been practicing my katas twice a day,” said Delos Santos.
Team Philippines’ billiard team suffered a big shock on Thursday morning after hearing the news of Iris Ranola’s father death.
Rubilen Amit said her teammate’s father has long been suffering from cancer.
Team Philippines psychologist Rey Canlas is set to have a talk with Ranola later Thursday to help determine the Zamboanga City native’s plans for the remainder of the Games.
“It’s too soon to tell, because she’s still grieving. Maybe later, after her talk with Dr. Canlas, we’ll know,” said Amit.
Ranola is set defend her 9-ball singles crown on Friday.
EMIL C. NOGUERA