THE Philippines swept its Group A matches against Thailand and Indonesia, respectively, late Thursday night to advance to the mixed team event semifinals of the 5th Southeast Asian Cup Squash Cup Championships at the Kerry Sports Courts inside the Shangri-la Hotel at the Fort in Taguig City.
The Kayod Pilipinas bets blanked the Thais , 5-0, then subdued the Indons, 4-1, in topping the group and a place in the semis scheduled late today in the six-nation tournament organized by the Philippine Squash Academy and supported by the Philippine Sports Commission and the Philippine Olympic Committee.
The Filipinos were expected to play the Singaporeans, who fell 2-3 to Malaysia in the Group B match also the same night to finish second in the group with 1-1 win-loss slate after earlier blanking Brunei, 5-0, earlier in the meet also backed by Alaska Fortified, MVP Sports Foundation, Meralco, PLDT and Smart.
Malaysia was set to pick up its second straight win to lord it over Group B at the expense of winless Brunei in the remaining match still playing at presstime of the tourney serving as a test event of the 30th Philippine Southeast Asian Games.
Playing a pivotal role in both PH squad wins was Jamyca Aribado, who prevailed over her women’s singles opponents in the best-of-5 tie despite playing with a sprained ankle suffered during practice last week before the tournament also supported by Salming and Dunlop, the official ball.
Down 0-2 to Anantana Prasertanakul in the PH-Thailand tie, Aribado took off the tape on her ankle that limited her mobility to step up and fashion a rousing 6-11, 7-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-9 comeback win after 36 minutes of play.
Given an eight-hour break, Aribado, currently ranked No. 88 in the Professional Squash Association world ratings, sprung back into action to subdue Indonesia’s Catur Yliana, 11-4, 11-6, 12-10, much to the delight of the small hometown gallery that stayed on to watch her play late into the night.
“Jemyca played bravely despite the injury so we salute her. She knew that the team needed and she delivered,” said PSA president Robert Bachmann. “We keep on praying that her injury continues to heal fast so she can play for the succeeding matches.”
The winners of the semifinals will vie for the mixed team event crown in the last day of the six-nation competition today.
The hosts have already won a gold medal from Reymark Begornia in the men’s singles and a bronze courtesy of Yvonne Alyssa Dalida in the women’s singles.