Bowler Rivera nails first PH Asiad gold | Inquirer Sports

Bowler Rivera nails first PH Asiad gold

01:29 AM November 16, 2010

GUANGZHOU, CHINA—Biboy Rivera burned the lanes for a 1414 series in men’s singles, suffered the agony of a five-hour wait for validation, and delivered the Philippines’ first gold medal in the 16th Asian Games Monday at the Tianhe Bowling Hall here. And a bowling squad eyeing redemption after a shutout four years ago in Doha, Qatar, even got a nice little bonus: Frederick Ong, who had a shot at the gold in the last few frames, finished with 1390 to nail the bronze. “After our zero performance in the Doha Games, this really felt good,” said Rivera. “I couldn’t believe it at first. But now I’m really happy, especially since we gave the country the first gold medal here.” Sandwiched in between the two Filipinos was Mohammed A.M.A. Alrgeebah of Kuwait, playing under the International Olympic Committee banner because of his country’s suspension by the International Olympic Committee. Alrgeebah missed a key strike in his last frame to end up at 1404 for the silver medal. The victory came a day before the highly touted boxing team—one tipped to also deliver a gold medal—was set to plunge into action, with Charly Suarez starting things off against unknown Daniyar Tulegenov at the Foshan gymnasium in the 56 kg (bantamweight) class. Another piece of good news came from the Aoti Aquatics Center, where the men’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay team managed to reach the finals of their event after placing third in its heat with a time of 7:33.52. The team was made up of Jessie Lacuna, Charles Walker, Ryan Arabejo and Miguel Molina. They eventually wound up fourth overall, clocking 7:30.76 to finish behind the Zhang Lin-powered Chinese, Japan and the Park Taehwan-led South Korean squad. The PH tankers beat out Hong Kong (fifth, 7:31.44), Malaysia (sixth, 7:35.66) and Singapore, which was disqualified. That made up for other crashes in the pool as Daniel Coakley tumbled out in the 50m freestyle heats and Erica Totten missed the cut in the women’s 200m butterfly. Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz, after topping her group, fell to sixth place in the women’s 58 kg finals after the heavyweights bunched in the second group overtook her one by one. Diaz lifted 94 kg in the snatch and 115 kg in the clean and jerk for a 209 total, 29 off the winning lift of China’s Li Xueying. In shooting, Nathaniel “Tac” Padilla launched a serious rally in his pet 25m rapid fire pistol event but committed an error that quelled his momentum and left him out of the finals. Youngsters Charisse Palma and Jayson Valdez also missed the mark in their respective events. (See story on A15) Palma fired a 546 in the women’s 50m rifle prone final, finishing at 49th place as the shooters continued missing their coaches in this quadrennial meet. Valdez also finished near the bottom of the men’s 50m rifle prone with a 564. Rivera actually topped Squad A, but had to endure a five-hour wait to see if his score would hold up. “He went out to the athlete’s lounge to relax,” said coach Lydio Trasporto. “He’s such a sport that he probably didn’t want people to think he was praying for people to lose.” “I didn’t want to watch the second block because all the top contenders were there,” Rivera said. “I didn’t want to expect my score to hold up because it would only hurt more if I lost.” Bowling coach Jojo Cañare, a former bowling star herself, was the first to tell Rivera that the country had finally won the gold. “I did not believe it at first,” said Rivera. “I thought it was all a joke until I saw the tears in her eyes.” When the second block was three games into its six-game series, Alrgeebah and Thai Somjed Kusonpithak were on pace to dislodging Rivera after both averaging 250. Going into the last frame, Alrgeebah needed two strikes to steal the gold. He nailed the first but missed the second, sending the Philippine gallery into a rupture. Somjed faltered as well. Alrgeebah’s miss left only one challenger for the gold, but that was Ong, who needed a turkey to get the job done. By then, it didn’t matter. “Whether it was Frederick or Biboy, the only thing that mattered was we delivered a gold for the Philippines and I’m really so proud of the players because I saw how hard they really worked for this,” said Cañare. “I never expected to win here,” said Ong. “Winning a medal in an event is great but to have two, it is simply an achievement of sorts for the Philippines. Filipino bowlers failed to secure a single medal in the Doha Asiad that dangled a total of 34 golds. The feats boosted the Philippines’ medal count to one gold and three bronze medals. A day earlier, dancesports produced two bronzes in the Latin events’ cha-cha-cha and paso doble. China still led the medal count at press time with 43 golds, 16 silvers and 14 bronzes. South Korea was winning the battle for second place with a 16-11-14 count as against Japan’s 8-20-16. The boxers hope to add to the modest medal collection and they got a big boost with a favorable draw.

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TAGS: ASIAD, Asian Games, Biboy Rivera, Bowling, Frederick Ong, Guangzhou

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