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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

PH captures bronze medal in world sepak takraw meet

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The Philippines bagged a bronze medal in the ISTAF Sepak Takraw World Cup held at Stadium Titiwangsa in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Philippine men’s team, labeled as overachievers by their top official, guaranteed themselves of a podium finish with a thrilling 17-16, 9-15, 15-12 victory over Brunei in the quarterfinals of the men’s Regu Premier.

Their journey to the finals was cut short by Thailand, which pulled off a 15-4, 15-8 win in their semifinal showdown on Tuesday.

Karen Tanchanco Caballero, president of the Pilipinas Sepaktakraw Federation, lauded the team’s astounding feat, admitting she initially had doubts about their potential in such a highly competitive tournament.

“I was skeptical about this new batch of athletes because, by my standards, they’re a bit old to peak (in their early 20s). Truthfully, I was quite harsh when I first met them and even coined the team ‘Thunder Cats’ because I felt they were too old to peak,” said Caballero.

Despite her reservations, Caballero decided to give them a chance at the urging of team coach Rodolfo Eco, who insisted on providing the athletes with an opportunity to prove themselves.

“My usual challenge was, ‘Coach, if they mess up at the World Cup, they’ll have to swim back to the Philippines,’” she said.

Caballero noted that the ISTAF Sepak Takraw World Cup is the toughest tournament in the sport, causing her significant stress and anxiety as she watched each game.

However, the team exceeded her expectations.

“I am brave enough to admit that I was wrong about them. I am happy that they proved me wrong as if to say: ‘Nope, you can’t get rid of us that easily. We will fight.’ And fight they did, standing up to both the pressure and my high standards.”

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