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SEA Games: Promising start for Team Philippines

/ 06:47 PM May 07, 2022
The Azkals U-23 celebrate their dominant performance against Timor Leste, 4-0, in Group A of the men’s football preliminary round of #SEAGames31.

The Azkals U-23 celebrate their dominant performance against Timor Leste, 4-0, in Group A of the men’s football preliminary round of SEA Games. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The Philippines men’s football and handball teams started off the country’ campaign in the 31st Southeast Asian Games on a high note with a pair of victories in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The Filipino booters were fearless in attacking Timor Leste for a 4-0 win at the start of men’s football at the Viet Tri Stadium in Phu Tho while the men’s handball squad likewise began its campaign with aplomb, pulling off an 18-16, 18-16 upset of Thailand at Tuan Chau Island in Quang Nihn province.

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“Buena mano. We’re off to a good start. It’s a good sign for the entire Philippine delegation,” said Philippine Sports Commission Commissioner Ramon Fernandez Fernandez, so is also the Team Philippines chef de mission.

The men’s national football team took a one-day break before facing host Vietnam on Sunday in a crucial tiff that could determine their odds of progressing to the semifinals.

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Grabbing a bronze medal in the 2019 SEA Games, the Filipino beach handball athletes seek a second consecutive victory as they tackle host Vietnam, the defending champions, on Saturday.

“We’re going up against the host country. Let’s hope and pray that we will be able to sustain what we have started,’’ said Fernandez.

The PSC shelled out P232 million to fund the entire participation of the 908-strong Philippine delegation, including 641 athletes gearing up to corner a large chunk of the gold medals at stake in 38 of the 40 sports in the SEA Games program.

There are no Filipino entries in petanque and Chinese/elephant chess or xianggi.

The national kickboxing team, hoping to seize four gold medals at the most, will open its campaign on Sunday while teams from women’s football, kurash/judo, rowing and diving have already settled after arriving on Friday.

The main wave of Filipino athletes, coaches and officials are expected to check in on Tuesday right after the national elections on Monday.

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Inquirer’s special coverage of the Hanoi SEA Games 2021.

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TAGS: Hanoi SEA Games, Team Philippines
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