The Philippine Men’s Water Polo team could not sustain its winning form, as it absorbed its first defeat at the hands of the vastly-improved hosts Malaysians, 7-8, at the National Aquatic Centre, Bukit Jalil, Wednesday morning.
Malaysia entered the match with guns blazing, as it sought to recover from an opening day loss to Indonesia. At halftime, they sported a three-goal lead, 4-1, against the Philippine squad and looked fully in control of the match.
The Filipinos, however, had other things planned. Amidst a hostile crowd, the visitors mounted a comeback in the third period that culminated in a Roy Canete goal to tie the game at seven goals apiece, with four and a half minutes remaining in the game.
From there, things turned sour for the Philippines, as two would-be winning goals were disallowed by the referees, and they eventually yielded a goal to the hosts. Thus, the Malaysian team went home with a narrow 8-7 win.
A highly motivated Mummar Alamara led all scorers with four goals, while Canete converted two and Reynaldo Salonga fired in one goal.
The Philippine team returns to the pool on Thursday at 11:00am, where it faces powerhouse and defending champions Singapore.