Chances high for PH table tennis team in Southeast Asian Games
A PERENNIAL spectator on every gold-medal finale in the Southeast Asian Games, Philippine table tennis could probably find itself in the limelight for the first time.
National champion Ernesto Ebuen, a losing finalist in the men’s singles of the World Championship of Ping Pong held in Las Vegas early this year, is the country’s strongest bet in years to break the jinx.
The 21-year-old US table tennis circuit regular is heading a six-man team to the 26th SEA Games in the cities of Palembang and Jakarta, Indonesia with high hopes of landing a gold widely missed by previous national teams.
Ebuen gave up the crown in the Worlds to Russia’s Maxim Shmyrev but outshone Stefan Feth of Germany, China’s Li Yang, Australia’s William Henzel, Paul Drinkhall of United Kingdom and Trevor Runyan of the United States—five of the planet’s best table tennis players.
Also aiming for a possible men’s gold in the Nov. 11-22 biennial meet is veteran Richard Gonzales, who ruled the 2008 Southeast Asian table tennis championship and had a silver (Manila 2005) and bronze (Laos 2009) in the SEA Games.
“We’re targetting two gold medals. We’re lucky if we could win three,” said Jose Ortalla Jr., vice president of the Table Tennis Association of the Philippines. /inquirer
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