PALEMBANG – The Philippines withdrew from competition in Sepak Takraw‘s men’s doubles after losing to Japan 2-1 on Friday at Ranau Hall in Jakabaring Sports City.
Japan won the first game in straight sets 21-17, 21-19. In the second set, Japan clinched the first set, 21-18, and needed to win one more to take the consistency and the game. However, the dynamic Filipino duo of Rheyjey Ortouste and John Jeffrey Morcillos are not discouraged. They won the second set decisively, 21-10, and won the thrilling third set with Ortouste delivering the winning bicycle kick.
In the third round however, Japan dominated the Philippines John Carlo Lee and Regie Reznan Pabriga. Even though Joshua Gleen Bullo was briefly substituted, they struggled for points throughout the regularity. Japan had back-to-back sets, 21-14 and 21-10, winning the match.
“In the third regu, I think we lacked communication,” said Pabriga. “We gave what we could in this event.”
“We failed towards the end,” said coach Hector Memarion. “But we’ve seen our athletes perform at their best. The odds haven’t been in our favor, but we still have the regular event.”
The Philippines will not advance to the men’s team doubles semi-finals, but will still have regular competition on Saturday. In the regular event, teams are made up of three players with two additional players serving as reserves. The Philippines will be tested early as they face host country Indonesia in their first game of the preliminaries.
After two days of competition, coach Memarion is proud of his team. The nine Filipino players are in their first Asian Games, but they haven’t backed down from the stiff competition.
“They really showed heart. And no fear even if they are beginners,” beamed Memarion. “When you say beginners there’s usually nervousness with the crowd. With them there wasn’t any. It was like they were in training. I’m really proud of them. did their best. “
For Morcillos, 27, he shared that it had been an eye-opening experience so far.
“Our experience in these Asian Games has been really fun. It’s our competitive time here and we’ve shown that ‘Oh we can do it. We can take on our opponents.'”
“We failed but it is a huge exposure for us and for the Philippines sepak takraw. It is a huge experience for us. These are lessons learned for us,” he added.
“I hope we win tomorrow,” Memarion said. “We will fight again.”