After Hidilyn, PHL athletes brace for tough fight

Nesthy Petecio and Colombia’s Yeni Marcela Arias Castañeda exchange punches in the women’s featherweight 57-kg boxing match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan.

TOKYO—Nesthy Petecio squares off with a taller opponent anew on Saturday, hoping to nail a victory against Italy’s Irma Testa to get into the gold medal play in women’s featherweight class of boxing at the Tokyo Olympics.

Similarly, another boxer, flyweight Carlo Paalam, and pole vaulter Earnest John “EJ” Obiena will share the spotlight in the Philippines’s weekend Olympic campaign that is now wanting of another winner after Hidilyn Diaz, who’s now home serving a seven-day hotel quarantine with her weightlifting gold medal.

“We have a game plan against the Italian girl. She’s similar with the [Chinese] Taipei girl, but she hooks and sways back,” said Philippine boxing coach Don Abnett of Australia. “So we’re going to make a counter move, but I’m comfortable with Nesthy’s performance.”

Petecio is fighting a taller Irma, just like top-seeded Lin Yu-Ting, who she eliminated in the round-of-16.

Paalam, on the other hand, needs to get through a more experienced Algerian Mohamed Flissi to see himself securing at least a bronze medal.

“Carlo’s opponent is a very experienced boy. He’s boxing in the WSB [World Series of Boxing],” Abnett said of Flissi.  “But Carlo’s going to get moving, similar to the game plan that he did in his last fight. He probably just continues with that.”

Juvic Pagunsan, meanwhile, needs to summon all of his golf smarts after faltering with a two-over 73 that dropped him into a tie for 25th place after two rounds of men’s individual play in golf at the Kasumigaseki Country Club.

Pagunsan dropped to three-under overall,  20 places down the standings that saw the US’s Xander Schauffele carding a 63 to rest the lead at 11-under total.

Obiena? The 25-year-old is finally bringing his act to the Olympic stage also on Saturday against a world-class field at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium.

He will be shooting for 12 slots in the finals against the who’s who in the event—World No. 1 Armand Duplantis of Sweden, No. 3 Piotr Lisek of Poland, No. 5 Christopher Nilsen of the US and No. 7 Thiago Braz of Brazil.


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