(STAR) By Nelson Beltran – The Filipino trap-shotgun team produced the first medal for the Philippines in the 24th Southeast Asian Games yesterday, duplicating its silver-medal finish in Manila in 2005 closely followed by a bronze-medal feat by Emerito Concepcion in the 10m air rifle event.

Erwin Ang, Carlos Carag and Jethro Dionisio hit a total 312 birds, losing by six birds to gold-medal winners Lee Wung Yew, Amat Mohd Zain and Choo Choon Seng of Singapore.

Concepcion settled for bronze in air rifle with the former seven-time SEAG gold medal winner also beaten by Singaporean opponents in Koh Tien Wei and Ong Jun Hong.

Carolino Gonzales was way off in 50m pistol, placing 14th out of 16 with 531 points. He failed to make it past the elimination round as he did in first event Tuesday.

The Singaporeans were on target in Day Two of the 2007 SEAG shootfest at the Thai shooting venue inside the Hua Mark Sports Complex, getting a feel of the range for being here three weeks earlier.

Lee (107), Amat (106) and Choo (105) got back at Ang (105), Carag (105) and Dionisio (102) after they were outperformed by the Filipinos in the recent Asian championship in Muntinlupa. The Philippine trio finished third behind India and Kuwait.

Ang and Carag were also beaten by Choo in the shootoff for the sixth and last slot in the individual final.

Ang, a businessman-sportsman from Laoag who won the bronze medal in individual event in the 2005 games, went out in the second round followed by Carag in the next.

“We can’t blame anybody or anything. We just didn’t deliver,” said Carag, a multi-talented athlete who paced the first 25 targets with 24 only to waver with 15 in the next string.

Ang was the steadiest among the three Filipinos doing 21-21-21-20-22. Dionisio, a former world champion in practical shooting, submitted 20-21-20-20-21.

The three rued their showing, saying they’re shooting at an average of 115 in practice.

“Actually, even the winning score was relatively low,” said RP team official James Chua.

Finding himself in a fierce individual final battle and emerging with second runner-up honors was Concepcion, the SEAG 10m air rifle champion from 1989 to 1995. The 45-year-old Meralco meter technician scored 9.7 and 10.5 in the last two shots, missing the silver and settling for the bronze both by .6 point. He was six points off the pace after the elimination round, making a furious rally in the 10-shot final.

Concepcion and Thananchai Thanapat figured in neck-and-neck duel in the final with the Thai bet even dislodging the Filipino at third place after the eighth shot.

The Thai crowd went silent after Concepcion regained third in the penultimate shot. Both shooters went on to score 10.5 in the last shot as Concepcion took the bronze, improving from his fourth-place finish the last time.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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