Inquirer 7: Most memorable performances of Filipinos in world stage in 2017
Before the fireworks go off and the clock hits midnight, allow Inquirer to set you up for some reminiscing in the world of sports.
Basketball and volleyball moments had been taken care of, so it’s time for the Filipinos who garnered international recognition to be given the mazel tov.
1. Krizziah Tabora ruled the world
The name Krizziah Tabora would probably just go over the heads of the casual sporting spectator, but the bespectacled athlete is the current queen of the bowling world.
Tabora’s triumph in the 53rd QubicaAMF World Cup in Mexico ended the absence of a Filipino woman atop the women’s division throne since Lita dela Rosa and Bong Coo won in 1978 and 1979.
The Philippines, after Tabora’s triumph, now have eight World Cups in both the men and women’s division making it the third winningest country in the competition behind United States (19) and Canada (9).
Tabora denied favorite Siti Sayifah of Malaysia 236-191 in the final.
2. Leather can turn to gold
The Philippines has always had a glorious boxing history stemming from Gabriel Flash Elorde up until the greatest Filipino slugger in Manny Pacquiao.
And in 2017 a troop of Filipinos earned their Masters and Doctors degrees in the Sweet Science.
In the amateur scene, welterweight Eumir Marcial and light heavyweight John Marvin showed Malaysia in the Southeast Asian Games what Filipinos can do with a couple of hands covered in leather.
Marcial won the gold after bludgeoning Thailand’s Pathomsak Kuttiya to earn a 5-0 unanimous decision while teammate Marvin took a wild approach for his gold.
Marvin needed just 21 seconds to capture his prize after he annihilated Malaysian Adli Hafidz B. Mohd Pauzi.
Meanwhile, a trio went a collective 6-0 in the pro stage in 2017 with IBF World super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas collecting three wins in the year.
Milan Melindo defended his IBF World light flyweight belt twice but lost in the unification of the WBA strap against Japan’s Ryoichi Taguchi.
And although Donnie Nietes fought just once this year that resulted a unanimous decision win over Komgrich Nantapech, the IBF World flyweight champion once held the WBO World light flyweight belt for almost five years only vacating it to move up in weight.
3. Breaking the ice
The Filipinos’ triumph in the ice hockey tournament in the 2017 SEA Games may never be comparable to the Miracle on Ice, but what they did is still nothing short of spectacular.
The Mighty Ducks walked into the final round as virtual underdogs as they faced off against a powerful Thailand team that hasn’t lost in four years.
That unbeaten streak finally ended as the Filipinos put five past Thailand’s goal line to take the gold medal after a 5-3 victory.
4. A double-double for triathletes
Simply put, the Philippines flat out dominated the competition in the triathlon of the 2017 SEA Games.
The podium was practically draped in the Philippine tricolor as both the men’s and women’s teams capture the gold and silver medals in the competition.
Nikko Huelgas broke the two-hour barrier for the gold in the men’s division after he clocked in 1:59:2 while teammate Leerams Chicano was at 2:01:27.
Kim Mangrobang and Ma. Claire Adorna then doubled up on what their compatriots did.
Gold medalist Mangrobang finished the race in 2:11:14 while Adorna was at 2:18:58.
5. A double in the billiards world stage
Filipinos are back in the throne room of the billiards castle after a seven-year absence.
Carlo Biado outsmarted compatriot Roland Garcia, 13-5, to become the Philippines’ first World 9-Ball Champion after Django Bustamante did the feat in 2010.
With his impressive victory over Garcia, Biado joins Efren “Bata” Reyes, Ronato Alcano, Alex Pagulayan, and Bustamante as the Filipinos who won the competition.
6. Tabal powers through
Mary Joy Tabal not only ruled the SEA Games women’s marathon event by a literal mile, she also waylaid a controversy that almost prevented her from competing.
The owner of the country’s first gold medal in Malaysia, Tabal was initially cut from the team after conflict with the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association.
After all that, though, Tabal was still reinstated into the team and the Rio Olympian is of a different pedigree than her Southeast Asian opponents.
7. Folayang goes full landslide
When Eduard Folayang defeated the legendary Shinya Aoki in 2016 for the ONE Championship World lightweight title, the first thing he sought to do was prove that he really is a force to be reckoned with.
Folayang’s time came on April 21 when he defended the strap against New Zealand’s Ev Ting at Mall of Asia Arena.
And in front of his countrymen, Landslide delivered as he controlled Ting for five rounds with methodical strikes to earn him the unanimous decision win.
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