RP cagers in must win match in Youth Games

Swimmers Jessie King Lacuna and Jasmine Alkhaldi made it to the finals in their respective heats, giving the Philippines a shot for a medal – in any color – in the 1st Youth Olympic Games on Monday.

As the Filipino cagers forced themselves into a ‘must win’ situation, the country pins its hopes to the pair of swimming sensation and to the power and grit of weightlifter Patricia Llena.

The Filipinos bowed to the hot-shooting Virgin Islands side in the 3-on-3 basketball event.

While the Philippines shot a miserable 0-of-3 from beyond the arc its rivals, practically making a living from the rainbow mark – shooting 6-of-12—en route to a 26-34 decision at the Scape Youth Space gym.

“They shot very well from the three-point area – six. That’s 18 points, it’s a lot in a 3-on-3 game,” said coach Mon Jose.

Under 3-on-3 rules, the first team to score 33 points wins.

Bobby Parks Jr. had eight points and five rebounds while Cris Tolomia and Michael Pate added six and two, respectively.

The loss, which came despite a 12-point effort by Jeron Teng, has put the RP cagers on a “must-win” situation against the Spaniards.

Lacuna and Alkhaldi breathed life to the country’s sagging hopes for a medal in this multi-sport tournament sanctioned by International Olympic Committee and supported by the Philippine Olympic Committee, Philippine Sports Commission and Samsung Philippines.

Lacuna, 16, clinched berth in the finals of boys’ 200-meter freestyle (set late night yesterday) after finishing third in his heat with a clocking of 1:51.52.

“We are going to try to win a medal in swimming tonight (last night). It’s a tight field but we’ll go for it,” said RP chief of Mission Mark Joseph, also the president of the Philippine Aquatic Sports Association.

Alkhaldi, on the other hand, marched into the semifinals of the girls’ 100m freestyle as she submitted a time of 58.16 seconds, good for fifth place in her heat.

Netter Jeson Patrombon and partner Yuki Bhambri of India were clashing with fourth-seed Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia and Mate Pavic of Croatia as of press time.

Llena, the country’s flag-bearer during the opening rites, will join Lacuna, Alkhaldi and Patrombon in the quest for Olympic medal as she competes today in the 63kg event in weightlifting at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall.

Among the eight participants in the event, Llena shares the fifth best record with Stephania Munoz of Colombia with an entry total of 180kg.

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