Philippine fencing teen star Maxine Esteban added another feather to her cap by claiming a bronze medal in the women’s foil individual event at the Junior World Cup held recently in Guatemala.

The long trip was all worth it, according to the 17-year-old Maxine after winning her first medal in the prestigious event.

“It was very fulfilling and worth it ang byahe. It took us 37 hours to get to Guatemala. This is my first time to win a medal in Junior World Cup,” said the Ateneo University student.

Esteban was impeccable in the pool eliminations, sweeping all her first five games.

She blanked, 5-0, Guatemala’s top player, Kania Saucedo in her first outing then beat Michela Somocurcio of Peru, 5-1. Her next victims were Gayatri Banot of the U.S. with a 5-3 win; Sofia McGoff of Puerto Rico, 5-1; and Jubanel Taylor of Costa Rica, 5-1.

Esteban said she was highly motivated by a motley group of Filipinos in the gallery, cheering for her and waving the Philippine flag.

“I was super happy when I saw the Philippine flag. Akala ko walang Philippines or Filipinos na andun. I was very happy to see that there were Filipinos there,” said Esteban, who reached the semifinals by winning over Caroline Stutchbury of Germany, 15-8.

Her winning run was halted by Singapore’s Amitha Birthier, who went on to win the gold medal. The bronze finish was enough reason to celebrate though as Esteban upped her world ranking from no. 34 to no. 21.

“Thank you to everybody who supported me and to my parents for the never-ending support.”

Esteban was coming off a gold medal finish in the team competition in the Asian Under 23 Championships held in the Philippines recently.

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