Philippine Water Polo bets fall to hosts Malaysia

ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 16, 2017 03:57 PM
Philippine Water Polo bets fall to hosts Malaysia
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KUALA LUMPUR -- The Philippines dropped a heart-breaking 7-8 decision to host Malaysia for its first loss in the men's water polo competition of the 28th Southeast Asian Games Wednesday at the National Aquatic Center. Down 1-4 at the break, the Filipinos woke up in the third quarter with a five-goal burst to make the match interesting.

Skipper Roy Canete Jr., the hero in the opening day, scored with a nifty shot from the right wing with 4:30 left in the fourth period to knot the count at 7. But the beleaguered Malaysians heaved a sigh of relief as Tan Xi Yun broke away and shot from point blank range as goalkeeper Tani Gonzales Jr. tried to smother him for the winning goal with a minute and 58 seconds remaining. With a second left on the 30-second shot clock,  Alamara Mumar appeared to have deadlocked the score anew for the Nationals with a last-gasp goal with 59 seconds to go.

But his goal was nullified by the referee, leaving him and  the rest of the Philippine squad shaking their heads in disbelief." It seemed like a good goal, but we were playing against host Malaysia…” reasoned Hungarian coach Gabi Egedi, who blamed his wards for putting themselves in the predicament.

"We just cannot sleep in the first two quarters and hope to beat Malaysia on their home grounds and win,” Egedi noted. “I know the game was early (at 9 am) but we should have played like we did against Thailand last Tuesday.”

“Mukhang nanakawan tayo,” echoed Filipino coach Rey Galang of the questionable call, but like Egedi, admitted that his charges dug their own hole by falling behind early in the first half.  

Anchored by the heroics of Canete, the Filipinos  displayed poise and focus in fashioning a 9-7 victory over the Thais last Tuesday.
Now the Filipino water polo bets have to shrug off the Malaysian setback in 24 hours as they face defending champion Singapore, which has monopolized the SEAG water polo event, at 11 am Thursday to keep their gold-medal hopes alive. 

While admitting that the Singaporeans were a strong squad, Egedi refused to lose heart, saying: “If my boys played as well as they did against Thailand we still have a chance against Singapore. Definitely we will not go out without a fight.” 

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