Arthus Bucay, a Paralympics veteran and an Asian Games medal winner, handed Team Philippines its first medal by racing to a silver in the men’s kilometer C5 track event of cycling in Sunday’s opening of the 9th ASEAN Para Games at the Velodrome Nasional Malaysia in Nilai Negeri Sembilan.
The 37-year-old Bucay, who raced in the 2012 London Paralympics and 2014 Incheon Asian Para Games where he pocketed a bronze, timed in an hour, 15 minutes and 4.32 seconds to snare the silver that he wasn't expected to deliver.
"Ilang beses lang kaming naka-train sa event na ito dahil dinagdag lang ito nung huli. Buti na lang naka medalya pa," said Philippine cycling coach Nortberto Oconer, himself a former cycling Olympian.
Malaysian Zuhaire Bin Amad Tarimzi booked the gold in 1:09.690 while Indonesian Sufyan Saori claimed the bronze in 1:19.170.
Bucay, who had an accident in a cycling race in 2013 that led to an operation that left him with an unproportioned pair of legs, goes for the gold in the 4000m individual pursuit at 4:30 p.m. Monday that he hopes to add to his silver.
In table tennis at the Hall 8 of the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC), Billy Smith Cartera and Darwin Salvacion routed Cambodia’s Voy Yasal and Ch Parnsamoth, 3-0, in the men’s event TT4 of table tennis that practically assured them of at least a bronze.
After seizing the first two singles matches, Cartera and Salvacion then sealed the match win with a quick, merciless 11-8, 11-1, 11-6 win over Yasal and Parnsamoth in the doubles.
"This win assures us of a bronze because there are only four entries in this division,"” said table tennis mentor Louise Mark Eballa.
The triumph was a soothing balm to their teammates' broken hearts following setbacks by Rogelio Cezar and Jobert Lumanta and Pablo Catalan and Benedictp Gaela to their respective Indonesian opponents in the TT8 and TT9 class, respectively.
The Philippines also had a solid start in goalball after fending off a late fightback by Cambodia to eke out a 12-11 win.
But the Filipinos nearly blew the win after coach Freddie Estacion substituted starters Jolan Camacho, Jomer Anden and Lemuel Garcia in favor of James dela Cerna, Jefferson Balenton and Jeff Fernando that opened the doors for the Cambodian to score three straight booming goals to close the gap by just a hairline with nine seconds to go.
Good thing they had enough left in the gas tank to preserve the win.
"I was just letting the other players to experience playing. It will not happen again," said Estacion, whose charges face off with Laos Monday.
Action in all fronts heat up Monday including centerpiece athletics and medal-rich swimming.
Rio Paralympics bronze medallist Josephine Medina will also start her table tennis event with hopes extending her golden reign in the sport she dominated since the 2003 staging.
At the pool, Filipino swimmers seek to create a big ripple as they compete in 10 events including 2015 Singapore edition double gold medallists Gary Bejino and Ernie Gawilan.
Bejino competes in the 100m freestyle S7 while teaming up with Gawilan, Roland Sabido and Arnel Aba in the 4x100m free.
Others seeing action at the pool are Sabido (100m free S9), Claire Calizo (100m women S14), Judy Ann Neblasca (50m breaststroke and 100m free S14), Adrian Azul (200m free S14), Aba (50m breast SB8), Edwin Villanueva (50m breast SB8) and Patrick Crisostomo (50m breast S14).
Romeo Tamayaw (49kg), Marydol Pamatian (41kg) and Achelle Guion (41kg) also launch their bid in powerlifting while Joey de Leon, David Gonzaga and Anna Amizola tackle separate foes in boccia, both set at MITEC.
In wheelchair basketball, the Philippines collides with Laos in the five on five and Myanmar in the three-on-three.
The biennial event was officially ushered in Sunday night with 3,300 athletes, coaches and officials from 11 participating nations marching in a display of colors at the main hub—the Bukit Jalil National Stadium.
For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.