MANILA -- Unknown to most Filipinos, floorball became the early source of pride as the national women’s team tallied the first victory for the host nation with an 8-1 win over Indonesia in the 30th Southeast Asian Games on Monday.
With a resemblance to the more popular ice hockey, floorball events kicked off at the UP College of Human Kinetics Gym in Diliman, Quezon City, with the Filipinas earning the win for the country in a lopsided match.
Forward Jade Rivera delivered five goals, including three hits in the first period, which made it a 5-1 spread in the first 20 minutes.
“We didn’t expect to win this big. We only prepared as a team for one week, but I guess everyone wanted to win as one, just like the motto of the SEA Games,” Rivera said.
In a highly physical match, Team Philippines Michelle Jennifer Lindahl drew first blood with her goal at the 2:45 mark. Yosi Nurmalida Pramatiara of Indonesia answered back with her side’s lone goal to even the score.
Rivera led an onslaught that hiked the cushion to a four-point lead after the first period. From there, the Indonesians were punished as Rivera, along with Michelle Cruzado, applied pressure in the next two frames for a swift end.
Filipina goalies Michelle Simpson and Pia Tolentino delighted the crowd when they saved eight attempts—all vital when the hosts clamped down on defense to negate any chances from the opponents.
“I think we had a good start. We know the Indonesians are really good and fast,” said Coach Noel Johansson. “We have worked on our defense very much. Our defenders had a fantastic job.”
Johansson said they must beat powerhouse teams Singapore and Thailand, which they are facing on Tuesday at 1 p.m., to earn a shot for the gold medal.
“If we can beat Thailand and Singapore, then we can have a good chance of winning the gold,” he said. (PR)