GOOD THINGS COME TO THOSE WHO WORK FOR IT. The national squash team is called Kayod Pilipinas for a reason.
After all of their hard work, the team raked in awards during the 5th Southeast Asian Cup. The event was held at the Kerry Sports courts in Shangri-La Hotel at the Fort.
Kayod Pilipinas survived four marathon five-setters, and posted an overall record of 19 wins and 8 losses. They also claimed the gold in men’s singles, and the bronze in both the women’s singles and the mixed team event.
The First of Many
This is the first gold medal for the team in the annual competition, and is a prelude to the SEA Games later this year.
26-year-old MacMac Begornia beat Brunei’s Haji Saiful Rizal, fellow countryman Robert Garcia, Malaysia’s Mohamed Bin Azhar, and Singapore’s Benedict Chan in the men’s singles division.
Then, in the mixed team event, Begornia defeated Singapore’s Chua Man Chiu, Thailand’s Prapangkorn Potiruk, and Indonesia’s Rahma Diyanto.
Meanwhile, Aysah Dalida, 26, took home the bronze in the women’s singles by beating Thailand’s Tuddaw Thamronglarp, and injured compatriot Myca Aribado. She unfortunately lost to Malaysia’s Noor Ainaa Amani Binti Ampandi, who won the gold medal.
Dalida, however, picked up another win in the mixed team event defeating Thailand’s Pranghatai Phonprattana.
Philippine Squash Academy (PSA) president Bob Bachmann lauded the team’s performance.
“Overall, I’m very pleased with the team’s showing, considering both our girls were still managing their injuries,” he said.
Former Philippine squash champion Manny Boy Yam flew in from New Zealand to be Kayod Pilipinas’ head coach. Filipino pro Edgar Balleber served as championship director. Other Filipinos Carlito Abanil, Leonides Alamida, Rodan Banquilay, Ed Aguilando, and Arnel Begornia were tournament makers.
Meanwhile, the newest addition to the team is 12-year-old Christopher Buraga. He was added by Bachmann to the Kayod lineup as a reserve. Buraga recently topped a junior competition in Singapore, making him the PSA’s latest discovery.