A date with history is completed
The Philippine men’s national hockey team swept their way into winning the first-ever Southeast Asian Games gold in the sport after edging out Thailand, 5-4, at the Empire City, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The Nationals piled up the attack from the get-go and scored just seconds in the face-off. Benjamin Imperial finished a Francois Gautier delivery to put the Philippines on the scoreboard.
Paul Gabriel Sanchez then showed his prolific scoring abilities, knocking down the puck twice to push the lead to 3-0.
The Philippines capitalized on Thailand’s penalties due to its physical play, scoring the first and third goals on the power play. The Thais had 12 minutes under penalty, while the Filipinos only garnered two minutes.
After scoring their fourth at the start of the second period, the Nationals played more defensively. The opponents took advantage of the situation and fired three straight goals to cut the deficit to just one, 3-4. Only the heads-up tending of goalie Gianpetro Iseppi with 13 saves kept the Philippines in front.
It was this defensive tenacity, however, that bore fruit in the payoff period. The Philippines carved another goal to get the lead to 5-3 with nine minutes left.
Thailand cut the deficit to one after an interference call on Gautier. Nonetheless, the Philippines led by Iseppi’s masterful hands was steadfast up to final buzzer.
The Philippines had to go through the ringer in their last two matches after easily disposing Indonesia and Singapore to get the mint.