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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Fil-Swede players hoperise of floorball in future

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Floorball players at the podium with POC president Abraham Tolentino

The sport of floorball is expected to pick up in the Philippines in the coming years.

This is the hopes and wish of many Fil-Swede players, who made up the Philippine national team that took home the silver medal after competing against Thailand in the men’s floorball finals of the 32nd Southeast Asian Games.

“I have been playing floorball my whole life, since I was five,” said 20-year-old Melvin Mendoza, one of the main scorers of the squad.

Mendoza is the son of the team’s coach Noel, who has been coaching in Sweden for the last 30 years.

The young Mendoza has made appearances in two World Game events and one qualifier.

During the finals, the Philippines had a chance to win the gold medal, but a late goal from Simon Johansson struck home in the 39 minute mark in the third period, allowed the Thais to escape with their third straight time, with a 3-2 win.

It was the Philippines’ best finish after placing fourth in 2015 and 2019, before settling for bronze medal last year.

“It was a tight game. We made a few mistakes. That made the difference today,” said coach Noel Mendoza.

The Filipinos took the lead early, drawing strength on Kim Franz’s attack in the 20:58 mark in the second period.

The Thais then equalized in the third period, behind Johansson, who scored in the 30:46 mark for a 1-all tie.

Then, Franz assisted Melvin Mendoza for the Philippines’ second goal in the 32:07 mark, for a 2-1 score.

Thakit Kavairit then broke through at 36:07 to keep the Thais close with a 2-all deadlock, before Johansson came through with the deciding point.

The Filipinos earlier upset Thailand, 6-4 in the Group Stage.

“Lumaban ang men’s team. ‘Yung goal natin gold. Nakita natin na kaya. And we almost got it. Pero mabilis ang scoring, and the momentum changed quickly,” said Philippine Floorball Association president Ralph Ramos.

Earlier, the Philippine women’s team settled for the bronze medal with their 4-2 victory over Malaysia.

Floorball is a variation of hockey with five players and a goalkeeper in each team. It is played indoors with 96–115.5 cm-long sticks and a 70–72 mm-diameter (2.76–2.83 in) plastic ball with holes.

Matches are played in three 15-minute periods.

Filipinos based in the Icelandic countries like Sweden and Finland were among the first to introduce the sport in the country.

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