Beach handball bronze caps off Filipinos’ fruitful SEA Games bid
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—The Philippines began and ended its medal rush here in this former United States naval base.
Courtesy of the bronze medal obtained by the men’s beach handball team on Wednesday morning, Filipino athletes closed out their historic crusade for the overall title of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
The handball squad dropped its final game, 19-18, 21-16, against Thailand at the converted Subic tennis court for the third-place ending that put the finishing touches to a phenomenal Philippine campaign.
“We are a young team, but I’m proud of what we have achieved,’’ said handball head coach Janna Franquelli who just formed the squad late last year.
Vietnam, ranked No.3 in the world, clinched the gold and Thailand will bring home the silver.
The Filipinos, cheered on by a jubilant hometown crowd, split their four matches, winning the first two games against Indonesia and Singapore before engaging Vietnam and Thailand in a battle of attrition that could have gone either way.
“The games were close. It showed that we need to build a taller team,’’ said Franquelli, whose main acquisition was Andrew Harris, a 6-foot-5 pivot who played for the UP Maroons in the UAAP.
Other members of the team are Jacob Baccay, Mark Vincent Dubouzet, Jamael Pangandaman, John Michael Pasco, Rey Joshua Tabuzo, Josef Maximillian Valdez, Dhane Miguelle Varela, Daryoush Zandi and Manuel Lasangue Jr.
“We tried to overcome the adversities, yet we came up short. But our team is really good and we feel blessed for the performance that we had in our first SEA Games,’’ said Harris.
Triathletes John Chicano and Andrew Kim Remolino struck the first two medals for the Philippines nearly two weeks ago with a 1-2 finish in the men’s race of the swim-bike-run test of endurance.