SEAG: ROOKIE SHOOTER HITS SILVER FOR RP!
BANGKOK, DECEMBER 3, 2007 (STAR) By Nelson Beltran – A lady neophyte ended the Philippines’ three-day dry spell in the 24th Southeast Asian Games shooting competition, pulling off an impressive showing by snaring the silver medal in skeet event.
Jacqueline de Guzman had her moment in the penultimate day of shooting action, hitting 84 birds to finish second behind Thai ace and eventual gold-medal winner Jiewchaloemmit Sutiya.
The Filipino marksmen could also break through at the close of SEAG shootfest today with the team of Paul Brian Rosario, Patricio Bernardo and Gabby Tong in a good position to repeat the RP men’s skeet sweep in Manila in 2005.
The three scored 69 each in the first 75 targets yesterday to share the lead in team competition with the host team. The three were only a bird behind co-leaders Hatchaichukiat Jiranunt and Varadhampinich Krisada of Thailand in individual play.
The men figure in two more 25-bird rounds this morning to decide who will advance in the individual final.
“We’re in good shape. We’re okay and we like our chances. The morale of the boys are high,” said team manager Pol Rosario.
De Guzman, daughter of Camarines Norte Gov. Jesus Typoco, had somehow fired up the RP men with her searing come-from-behind silver-medal effort in ladies individual skeet.
“ It’s really exciting to win in my first SEAG. There was a bit of pressure but that’s something I could handle,” said De Guzman.
The charming 26-year-old, who has taken the sport only last year, rallied from fourth place in the first round with 23s in the next two rounds and a 20 in the final.
Jacqueline, who runs a call center business in Manila with her fellow-shooter husband Mike, lost by 12 to Jiewchaloemmit – the Thai ace who’s long qualified for the Beijing Olympics.
Jiewchaloemmit was a cut above the rest, outgunning even the men with her 24-24-25-73 in the first three rounds.
“Her score is good for an Olympic medal,” noted Mike de Guzman.
Jacqueline got into the groove only after the first round where she struggled for only 18, behind Jiewchaloemmit’s 24, Singaporean Ng Swee Tee’s 23 and another Thai Sut Arporn Notchaya’s 21.
But the Filipina shooter raced to second at the end of the qualifying and held on to it in the end with a 20 in the final.
Sut settled for 19 and a total of 80 for the bronze medal.
The Thai men had their own comeback as they caught up with the Filipinos after 75 birds.
Rosario shot a perfect 25 with Tong adding a 24 and Bernardo a 22 as the Filipinos enjoyed a four-bird lead over the Thais in the first round.
Bernardo took his turn to score a perfect 25 with Tong firing another 24 and Rosario chipping in a 23 as the RP trio stretched their lead to seven in the second round.
But the Filipinos struggled amid swirling winds late in the afternoon, struggling to a 64 to the Thais’ 71 in the third.
The best score for the Filipinos in the third round was 22 courtesy of Bernardo. Rosario and Tong had 21 each.
Varadhampinich highlighted their third-round siege with a perfect 25. His teammates had 23 each.
Meanwhile, RP lady booters seek to make a grand debut against Laos over in Nakhon Ratchasima.
A win over the Laotians in their 3:30 p.m. showdown will virtually send the RP belles to the crossover semifinals.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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