TOKYO – Coaches called it a cat and mouse game. And in that brief but crucial stretch between the middle of the final round and the final 10 seconds, Nesthy Petecio played perfectly against a formidable foe at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday.
The unflappable flyweight, caught up in a one-game thriller, caught Taiwanese Lin Yu-Ting with a couple of big shots in that short span and, after his corner pointed it out, had the good sense to stay out of trouble. rest of the fight. way to emerge as a 3-2 split decision winner at Kokukigan Arena here.
“She couldn’t hit me with a clear shot, so I knew she was ahead,” Petecio said of the final 10 seconds of the game. “That’s why I ran away [from trouble]. “
“Coach boy [Velasco] He told me we were ahead and told me to just protect that advantage. “
For a moment’s pause after both fighters were called to the ring, there was uncertainty as to whether the ploy worked.
But then the decision came: Petecio had advanced to the quarterfinals, where he faces Colombian Yeni Marcela Arias Castañeda, and stands within a bronze medal victory.
“He stayed true to the tactic, without being overly committed,” coach Don Abnett said. “[She was] get into her punch range, get her opponent to start and then catch her with one or two punches or combinations. “
And part of the plan was to confuse Lin by changing her stance a lot during the match. Petecio got that strategy off to a strong start, grabbing the lead on four of the five judges’ cards.
“Whatever posture I used to land a punch, I’ll stick with it,” said Petecio. “If she found out, I’d switch back to confuse her.”
The Taiwanese World No. I unlocked Petecio’s puzzle in the second, squaring the match in the third. And during the first half of that last round, it seemed like Lin had taken over the reins of the match. But in the last moments, all those guesses that Petetus had Lin make came into play. Not knowing from which angle to defend due to Petetus’ frequent stance changes, Lin was left open to a neat combination that may have decided the outcome very well.
“[Lin] He was hoping that she would get too committed to her punches that she is known for, to make her opponent miss. But she never gets into your hitting range and uses her range very well, ”Abnett said.
“So Nesthy played cat and mouse, it was really good and it was worth it.”
The Southeast Asian Games champion resisted the temptation to go overboard to cover the distance Lin got between them, using her height and reach advantage (the 5-foot-7 Taiwanese was almost a head taller than the compact Petecio) and left No. I was stunned in the ring and with tears out of it.
“Due to the [coronavirus] and since I missed the Rio Olympics, I prepared for this for five years, ”Lin said, speaking through an interpreter.
“She [Petecio] I put in a lot more effort than me and I couldn’t risk it, so I can only blame myself, ”she added, her voice cracking a bit.
The fight was so close that Lin, who did his “research on [Petecio]”He had held on to the thin film of hope that he had done enough to move forward.
But the closeness of the score offered little relief for the end of a dream.
“Regardless of the score, it’s all about my effort. Even if I won today, it’s not about the score, it’s about my effort, ”Lin said.
By eliminating the top-ranked woman in his division, Petecio also seemed to have greased his way to gold.
But she’s not looking that far.
“Let’s go step by step,” he said. INQ
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