Paul Marton dela Cruz ruled the compound men qualification round on Saturday to deliver the country's first gold medal in the 2018 Asia Cup - Stage 2 archery competition being held at the Rizal Memorial Baseball field in Malate, Manila.
The 31-year-old Dela Cruz scored 354 points in the first round and 350 points in the second round for a total of 704 points, erasing the 703 national record he set during the 2014 National Open.
Dela Cruz was actually tied with Lin Che-Wei of Chinese Taipei but he had more arrows in the 10 and X rings, 57-56, to clinch the gold.
Lin, who placed second after the first round with 352 points and topped the second round with the same score, settled for the silver medal.
Huang Wei of China tallied 697 to pocket the bronze medal. He was ranked No. 3 after scoring 351 in the first round and was No. 6 in the second round with 346 points.
Joseph Vicencio was ranked No. 7 with 688 points (347-341), Earl Benjamin Yap was 10th with 686 points (349-337), and Barbin Dranoel was 19th with 666 points (332-334).
"It's a wonderful feeling to get the gold medal," said Dela Cruz, who also set a new Philippine record of 702 points when he won the bronze medal in the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
"I did not expect to win, I was actually nervous in the first round. But I just stayed focused and did my best," said the 5-foot-11 Dela Cruz, who played volleyball before trying his hands on archery during his junior year in high school.
In the recurve men qualification round, Wei Chun-Heng of Chinese Taipei registered 673 points (338-335) to win the gold while his compatriot, Jao Ting-Yu grabbed the bronze medal with 667 points (338-329).
Seo Mingi of South Korea tallied 669 points (333-336) to pocket the silver medal.
Mark Javier finished 18th (624), Florante Matan (626) placed 26th followed by Luis Gabriel Moreno (625), while Jonathan Reaport was 31st (623).
A total of 113 players from Australia, China, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Thailand, Qatar, India, Malaysia and host Philippines are competing in the Manila leg of the Asia Cup, which is a world-ranking tournament.
The first leg was held in Bangkok, Thailand (March 2-9) while the third leg will be hosted by Chinese Taipei from July 9-12.*PNA
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