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Gilas, women bets dominate PSA honor roll

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Gilas Pilipinas’ historic victory in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China grabs the limelight in the Philippine Sportswriters Association’s October honor roll.

Filipino athletes scored breakthrough victories in the month of October with Gilas Pilipinas headlining the major winner during the 19th Asian Games and female aces in billiards and jiu-jitsu likewise making waves.

Gilas ended 61 agonizing years of futility with a storybook conquest of men’s basketball in Hangzhou, China, a feat highlighted by an epic comeback win against the host Chinese in the semifinals, 77-76, and a payback 70-60 victory over elims tormentor Jordan in the finals.

The Nationals’ well-celebrated triumph in the sport closest to the Filipinos’ hearts complemented the gold medals collared by fancied jiu-jitsu bets Meggie Ochoa (-48kg class) and Annie Ramirez (-57kg category) just days before.

Together with the golden exploit of Italy-based pole vault star EJ Obiena in late September, the Philippines finished the Games with four gold along with two silver and 12 bronzes.

Absent in the Asiad, pool stalwart Chezka Centeno stamped her class by topping the Predator Women’s World 10-Ball Championships in Austria to join the elite club of Filipino global champions such as Efren Reyes and Rubilen Amit.

For shining on the big stage, Gilas, Ochoa, Ramirez, and Centeno make up the Philippine Sportswriters Association’s cast of top achievers for October.

Taking the cue from the champs, muay thai aces Rhichein Yosorez and Alyssa Kylie Mallari (mai muay event), jiu-jitsu’s Kaila Napolis (52kg) and taekwondo’s Darius Venerable (men’s individual poomsae) won golds in the World Combat Games in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

They anchored the Pinoy contingent’s 3-5-5 haul in the competition featuring 16 combat spots.

Para athletes continued the triumphant Philippine roll, winning 10 gold, four silver and five bronze medals in the Hangzhou Asian Para Games for the ninth overall and country’s best-ever showing.

Boxer Eumir Marcial and gymnasts Carlos Yulo and Aleah Finnegan booked their trips to the Paris Olympics one after the other.

Marcial qualified after taking silver in Hangzhou while fellow Tokyo veteran Yulo earned his ticket in the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium — the same tourney where Fil-Am Finnegan clinched hers.


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