KUALA LUMPUR – Pinoy archers Florante Matan and Nicole Tagle lost a tense semifinal duel with Malaysia’s Khairul Anuar Muhammad and Nural Aliya Ghapar and eventually failed to salvage a medal at the close of the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games archery competition Tuesday here.
Ranged against the Malaysian duo and the partisan hometown crowd at the National Sports Center Synthetic Turf Field, Matan and Tagle gamely held their own and even led 4-2 going into the fourth and final set of the match.
But egged on by their fans, Muhammad and Ghapar hung tough and tied the score at 4-all in the fourth, shooting 35 to the Filipinos’ 33 that paved the way for a sudden-death shoot-off.
Not wanting to let the opportunity slip, the Malaysian tandem dispatched their rivals, 19-16, advancing to the championship match against Indonesia, which took the gold, 5-3.
The close semifinal setback took its toll on Matan and Tagle, who couldn’t get anything going and fell to Vietnam’s Chu Duc Anh and Loc Thi Dao, 2-6, (34-37, 35-33, 36-37, 34-36), in the bronze-medal play.
“Medyo po mahangin kaya kahit i-adjust ko ang tira di po tumatama sa target,” said Matan, a gold medalist in the men’s team recurve in the 2005 SEA Games, rued of his woeful form.
“Binawian tayo ng Vietnam after we beat them in the men’s and women’s team recurve for the bronze last Monday,” noted head coach Clint Sayo.
Precocious SEA Games rookie Tagle, 15, was the country’s top performer here after bagging the women’s recurve individual silver last Sunday.
The Filipino hawkeyes will also return home with four bronze medals – a pair each in the compound and recurve events – to fare slightly better than their predecessors, who had one silver and three bronzes in the Singapore edition two years ago.
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