PHNOM PENH—The Philippines overpowered Indonesia, 11-5, Friday in men’s 3×3 basketball to jumpstart its campaign in the 12th ASEAN Para Games at Elephant Hall A of the Morodok Techo National Stadium here.
Kenneth Tapia and bull-strong Alfie Cabanos presided over the decisive run that shattered a 5-5 deadlock to carve out the win for the Vernon Perea-mentored dribblers, who are out to finally strike gold after a silver-medal effort in last year’s edition in Surakarta, Indonesia.
“So far, so good,” said Perea, whose other players were Clifford Trocino, JR Escalante and Rene Macabenguil.
The Filipinos were playing the host Cambodians, the Thais and the Malaysians at press time, hoping for a fantastic run for that elusive gold.
The chess team, headed by Surakarta Para Games quadruple gold winner Sander Severino, wades into battle starting at 9 a.m. today at the Royal University in rapid chess that ends tomorrow.
The Filipino woodpushers accounted for 10 of the 28 mints snared last time and coach James Infiesto is optimistic of their chances in improving, if not matching, that output here.
“We’re hoping to improve from last time,” said Infiesto.
A ceremonial flag ceremony was held in the morning yesterday that was attended by heads of the National Paralympic Committees, chiefs of mission and some athletes from the 11 participating nations including Philippine Paralympic Committee president Mike Barredo and PSC commissioner and CDM Walter Torres.
The weeklong event, however, will be officially ushered in a grand opening ceremony today with the Philippines fielding in a select group of 50 athletes and officials including flag-bearer Ariel Aligarbes of swimming.
Action will then intensify tomorrow with most of the 12 disciplines calendared here including medal-rich athletics and swimming unfurling mostly at the complex and a couple of venues just inside the Cambodian capital.
In centerpiece track and field, a total of 24 gold will be staked in Day One and the Filipinos, who fielded in a total of 23 athletes, hope to snatch a fair share of glory in the sport where the country had a six-gold haul in Surakarta.
“Handa na kami,” said national track and field coach Joel Deriada.
For the Filipino swimmers, they will field in the same 12 tankers they sent in the last staging where they harvested a massive 12-mint haul including three from Aligarbes.
Battle-scarred Gary Bejino and Ernie Gawilan will get to take the first cracks at a gold in the 400-meter freestyle for S6 and S7 classes, respectively, starting at 9 a.m. tomorrow.
“Our goal is to make the country proud,” said national swimming mentor Tony Ong.