HANOI, December 3, 2003  (STAR) Florante Matan kept his fine form to finish second individual overall and power the Philippines to first place in the team eliminations of the 22nd Southeast Asian Games archery competitions yesterday at the National Sports Training Center 1 here.

Matan, who tallied 304 Monday to rip the 302 SEAG mark set by fellow Filipino Nerickzon Fragiñal in the 90-meter distance, carded 1296 after firing 327 and 345 in the 50- and 30-meter events yesterday to land only three points behind Indonesia’s Kuswantoro.

Matan’s teammates – Marvin Cordero, Arnold Rojas and Christian Cubilla – also joined Matan in the knockout Olympic Round competition, which starts tomorrow.

Cordero landed third with 1285, Rojas was eighth at 1274 and Cubilla finished 11th at 1255.

The Filipinos compiled a total of 3855 points to top the team eliminations and erase the 3783 mark they set last year in the Busan Asian Games.

The RP women’s team of Jennifer Chan, Jasmin Figueroa, Joann Tabanag and Rachelle Anne Cabral, who all advanced to the Olympic Round earlier in the day, ranked third in the team event with 3833 points.

Matan drew a bye in the first OR stage, but Cordero, Rojas and Cubilla are pitted against Loatian Phouvieng Mounthinthay, Vietnamese Nguyen Huy Long and Myanmar’s Yan Aung Soe, respectively.

"Talagang ni-rendahan namin si Matan sa 50 and 30 para hindi magkalaban-laban ang mga bata natin," said coach Henry Manalang.

Over at the Lach Tray Stadium, the Philippines was held to a scoreless draw by Malaysia yesterday at the start of the women’s football competition.

The Filipinos missed a chance to repeat over the Malaysians, whom they had beaten, 4-0, in an invitational tournament in Kuala Lumpur last month, when Marielle Benitez failed to convert a penalty kick in the 58th minute.

"The girls were tight," said coach Marlon Maro, who did not feel too happy about the outcome. "We had plenty of scoring chances but we were unlucky."

Maro added that the Malaysians concentrated on defense.

The Filipinos are scheduled to meet Indonesia at 3 p.m. tomorrow (Dec. 4) in their second match in Group A of the seven-team tourney. The fourth team in RP’s group is reigning SEA Games champion Vietnam.

Thailand, Singapore and Myanmar are in Group B.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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