The Philippine men’s national floorball team ended its Cinderella run in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games with a silver medal after suffering a narrow 2-3 loss in the gold medal match against now back-to-back champion Thailand on Tuesday.
The highly charged match between the two squads, who had previously participated in the Men’s Floorball Worlds, took place at the Dinosaur Hall Park in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
In the 39th minute, Thailand’s Simon Johansson found himself free and shot the ball straight past the Philippines’ goalkeeper, Victor Lindberg, ultimately sealing the deal for the reigning champions.
The Nationals had a golden chance to claim their first-ever title in the Games after leading twice. Kim Varga Franz opened the scoring after a long 20-minute dry spell from both teams, before Melvin Alm Mendoza capitalized on a pass from Varga to regain the lead at 2-1 with 10 minutes left in the game.
However, Johansson had other plans and spotted Santipong Sukkasem within the shooting lane. Sukkasem delivered the equalizer, setting up the eventual winner from Johansson himself.
The Filipinos tried for an equalizer, but Thailand’s defense, anchored by their goalkeeper Kevin Hoeglenius, made sure nothing would pass through to close out their title romp.
On the women’s side, they also made a breakthrough by securing a 4-2 victory in the third-place playoff match against Malaysia.
This victory was especially significant as they had suffered a devastating 1-0 overtime defeat against Malaysia four years ago on home soil. Despite both the Philippines and Malaysia being guaranteed bronze medals, Keziah Espidillon ensured history would not repeat itself.
Her goal, assisted by Hanna Esteves Englund, sealed the win and the squad’s breakthrough medal with only a few ticks remaining in the game.
Philippine floorball achieved its first-ever Games medal in its three stagings, following three fourth-place finishes: two for the men’s side in the 2015 Singapore Games and the 2019 home Games, along with the women’s team in 2019.