KUALA LUMPUR—The goalball team opens its ambitious gold medal bid today
that the Philippines’ chef de mission hopes will open the floodgate and a harvest
of 27 golds as the ninth ASEAN Para Games comes off the wraps today at the
Bukit Jalil National Stadium here.
Goalball coach Freddie Estacion is looking to make the most out of its return to
competition by gunning for nothing less than a gold after last competing in the
2005 staging in Manila where they booked a bronze.
The team will be spearheaded by Jomer Anden, Lemuel Garcia and Jolan
Camacho with James dela Cerna, Jefferson Balenton and Jeff Fernando as the
other members in a sport where defending champion Thailand and host Malaysia
are expected to contend for the mint.
“We’re aiming high and we’re going for the gold,” said Estacion in Filipino.
Partially blind chesser and flag-bearer Minandro Ridor will lead the Phl
delegation during the traditional parade of participating countries, a role he
received after emerging the best performing Filipino in the 2015 Singapore
Ral Rosario, the chef de mission, is optimistic the Phl will pocket 27 golds, which
will be a big improvement to its 16-gold haul in Singapore.

Joining Ridor and Rosario in the leading lean but mean 111-member delegation
are Phl Paralympic Committee president Michael Barredo and board member
Kiko Diaz and Phl Sports Commissioner Arnold Agustin.
A total of 368 gold medals will be staked in 16 sports disciplines including 133 in
centerpiece athletes and 84 in the swimming competition.
The other golds will come from archery (six), badminton (14), boccia (seven),
chess (24), para cycling (26), football (two), goalball (two), powerlifting (19),
tenpin bowling (18), table tennis (27), volleyball (one), wheelchair basketball
(two) and wheelchair tennis (three).
Track and field coach Joel Denada said they are looking at seven golds here
after winning five in the 2015 edition in Singapore.
Jerold Mangliwan eye to duplicate, if not surpass, his two-gold effort the last time
out as he sees action in 100m and 200m for T52 division tomorrow at Bukit Jalil
while Joel Balatucan seeks to win again in shotput F55 class.
Newbie Cielo Honasan, who has competed in the regular event of the Palarong
Pambansa, is expected to grab the spotlight as she is the heavy favorite to win in
her events—100m, 200m and 400m.
Also competing at the track are Rio Paralympic veteran Tess Burse, Cendy
Asusano, Jessebel Tordecilla, Arman Dino, Isidro Vildisola, Roger Tapuz and
Andy Avellana.
Swimming should also be another source of medals for the Phl as Tony Ong
predicts a four-gold haul and possibly more.
Ernie Gawilan, Gary Bejino and Roland Subido won three golds in Singapore and
should give it all to and win again here.
The other Phl tankers are Arnel Aba, Patrick Crisostomo, Claire Caliso, Adran
Azul, Judy Ann Neblaca and Edwin Villanueva.

Ridor is targeting to sweep his events as well as FIDE Master Sander Severino
and Henry Lopez as chess is seeking a seven-gold harvest or more.