MANILA, Philippines -- Jayson Ramil Macaalay found Indonesian tormentor Donny Dharmawan a tough nut to crack and settled for a silver medal in the men’s kumite in the 2nd Southeast Asian Karatedo Federation (SEAKF) championships that ended at the Clark Freeport Zone on Sunday.
Despite the egging of teammates and the hometown crowd at the Hotel Stotsenberg convention hall, Macaalay was outclassed by Dharmawan, 0-6, who scored all of his points with two quick three-point takedowns en route to bagging the gold medal.
“Naunahan niya ako at medyo bumaba ang level ko kasi mga two to three hours din ang hinintay naming bago kami nakalaro sa finals,” said the 19-year-old Dagupan City native, who lost to Dharmawan, an Asian bronze medalist, in the 2011 Indonesia Southeast Asian Games.
Macaalay, a bronze medalist in Indonesia two years ago, emerged as the best Filpino performer in the senior division of the three-day tournament sponsored by the PSC, POC, Magnolia, Ginebra San Miguel, Unilever, Hotel Stotsenberg and Fontana Hotel Leisure Parks and Resort.
Eugene Dagohoy, Hector Franco, Mabel Gay Arevalo and Clarence Lachica earlier captured bronze medals in their respective kumite events, raising the Philippine overall medal tally to four golds, nine silvers and 17 bronzes, good for fifth place.
Serving notice of its keen intent to figure prominently in the Myanmar SEA Games in December, Malaysia bagged seven golds in the senior division, highlighted by a sweep of the men’s and women’s individual kata, to rule the meet with a 11-8-6 overall tally.
Indonesia took runner-up honors (9-5-10), Vietnam third (6-7-12), Thailand fourth (6-4-6) while Myanmar was sixth (0-3-3).
Assessing the performances of his wards, head coach David Lay noted that “this was an eye-opener for our karatekas and the coaching staff on how much they still have to work at in our build-up for the SEA Games. But this was good exposure for them.”
“Karate is all about execution, timing and distance, and our athletes see now what they need to bring them to the next level,” added Lay, who hoped that the overseas training in Iran pledged by the PSC in June would address their weaknesses.
He lamented the lack of sparring mates for the national team members “who have to spar among themselves so they cannot gauge their progress since they are virtually the best in their respective divisions.”
As for the shutout in the kata event, Lay said, "Give us three to four years of development and we have kata players who will be competitive in this area."
Iranian coach Ali Parpinfar, who has been handling the Philippine squad for six months, echoed Lay’s sentiments, saying “while they (the athletes) have improved, they require exposure and more sparring I hope the training in Iran would be able to do that.
“We can improve them by at least 30 to 40 percent if we are able continue our training in Iran,” he said.
Philippine Karatedo Federation secretary general Raymdund Lee Reyes likewise observed the better performance of the Filipinos “but we still have a long way to go if we are to be competitive in the SEA Games.”
SEAKF secretary general Vincent Chen, who is also the Malaysian karatedo association president, disclosed that his athletes would be sent to five international competitions, most of them in Europe, in their build-up to the Myanmar Games.
G S B
Malaysia 11 8 6
Indonesia 9 9 10
Vietnam 6 7 12
Vietnam 6 4 6
Philippines 4 9 17
Myanmar 0 3 3