Twenty-six-time champions Singapore survived the upset-seeking Philippines, as it narrowly won 7-5 in men’s waterpolo tournament of the 29th Southeast Asian Games, at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur.
A spirited Philippine squad raced to a 2-0 lead early in the opening period behind goals from Mark Valdez and Reynaldo Salonga to shock mighty Singapore. Valdez connected again as the second period began to put the Philippines ahead at 3-1.
From there, the championship experience of the Singaporeans took over, as they capitalized on their counterattack offense to quickly score four goals and give themselves a 5-3 lead at the end of the first half.
In the second half, Mummar Alamara and Salonga each scored a goal to keep the Philippines within one, with Singapore still up 6-5. However, confusion between the referees stopped the momentum of the rampaging Filipinos, as a visibly upset coach Reynaldo Galang was calling for fair play.
Singapore eventually scored a goal to silence the Filipinos and deal them their second loss in three games.
The Philippines still has a shot at its podium-finish goal, but will have to wait for the results of the games tomorrow. They are set to play their final match against Indonesia in the single round-robin tournament this August 20, 9:00am.