IT was a challenging finals showdown for the Philippine national ice hockey team when they won the first ever gold in the sport in the 29th Southeast Asian Games.
Skipper Steven Fuglister said this after Team Pilipinas was feted yesterday by their supporters at the Skating Ring of the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong.
“We had to fight back to clinch the victory. And now the celebration was even better,” said Fuglister, a Swiss-Filipino.
He was not able to play in the finals against Thailand, whom they beat, 5-4.
Fuglister was suspended for an illegal hit on a Malaysian player during the semifinals.
The Philippines led at 5-1 early in the game, and they had to hang on till the end to win.
“It was fantastic for a tropical country to win a gold in this sport in the SEA Games,” said Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez, who was around with Philippine Skating Union president Chris Sy.
Organizers also celebrated the silver medal win of figure skater Michael Martinez in the men’s division, along with that of Jules Alpe, and Alisson Perticheto in the women’s side.
Sy said Team Pilipinas will now prepare for the staging of the Challenge Cup in March, where the best ice hockey teams in the region will compete for honors.
The athletes were congratulated by SM Lifestyle Entertainment president Edgar Tejerero.
Coached by Daniel Brodad, the squad is is composed of Benjamin Imperial Carl Montano, Daniel Pastrana, Francois Gautier, Javier Cadiz, Gianpetro Iseppi, Jan Regencia, Georgino Orda, Jorell Crisostomo, Inigo Cadiz, Joshua Carino and Julius Santiago.
They also have Lenard Lancero, Miguel Relampagos, Miguel Serrano, Paolo Spafford, Patrick Syquiatco and Carlo Tenedero.