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IIHF: Sibug clutch as Philippines outlasts Mongolia, inches closer to promotion

EJ Sibug scored the game-winning shot that sent the Philippine men’s ice hockey team one step closer to promotion after a 7-6 victory over host Mongolia in the 2023 IIHF World Championships Division IV tournament on Saturday at the Steppe Arena in Ulaanbaatar.

Sibug found the back of the net just one minute and 12 seconds into the overtime period, giving the Nationals a golden opportunity to advance to Division III-B next year with only Kuwait standing in their way on Sunday at 4 p.m.

Current captain Manvil Billones and Carlo Tenedero found their former skipper free, and Fuglister obliged with the game-winner – his second of the night – past Mongolian goaltender Munkhbold Bayarsaikhan.

Fuglister ended with three points, including an assist on Jan Regencia’s power-play goal for the 5-4 lead, while Kenwrick Sze added three markers for the day.

However, the day belonged to Gianpetro Iseppi, who stood his ground against the Mongolian onslaught of 49 shots on goal, stopping 43 of them. Meanwhile, his offense needed two keepers to contain them with Bayarsaikhan facing the bulk of the 30 shots at 21.

The Philippines took an early 3-0 lead after the first period before the hosts scored three unanswered goals of their own to even the score at three after the first 40 minutes.

Two straight power-play goals from Regencia and Fuglister sent the Nationals to a 6-4 lead with 10 minutes remaining. But Munkhzaya Enkhtur and Lkhagvadorj Davaanyam equalized for Mongolia to force the decider.

An overtime win over Kuwait would be enough for the Philippines to advance to the higher division, regardless of the result between Mongolia and Indonesia later in the day.

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Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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