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2018 challenge cup of asia – indonesia def philippines
2018 challenge cup of asia – indonesia def philippines

Ice Hockey

Thailand spoils Philippines’ Challenge Cup of Asia debut

Just seven months adrift from their encounter for the Southeast Asian Games inaugural gold, Thailand and the Philippines figured in a tension-filled encounter. The visiting Thais, however, took the better of the Filipinos this time around, carving a 7-4 to open their 2018 IIHF Challenge Cup of Asia, Tuesday evening at the SM Mall of Asia Skating Rink.

The visitors showed the Nationals what they can do on offense early on, forcing the latter into last-ditch efforts on defense that resulted in penalties most of the time.

Nonetheless, it was the Philippines that broke the deadlock.

Sixteen-year-old Jann So Tiong received a pass from Julian Santiago and hit it to the back of the net at the 16:32 mark.

Taking their cue, it was the veterans turn to double the lead just a few seconds later as the team’s leading scorer Paul Sanchez found the back of the net off an assist from captain Steven Fuglister.

That turned out to be the last taste of the lead for the Nationals, as the Thais picked up from where they started.

The away side salvaged a goal late in the opening period after Papan Thanakroekkiat finally breached Gian Iseppi’s guard.

Using this momentum, the Thais went on an onslaught in the second period, capitalizing on the calls against the Philippines. Thailand equalized and then wrested the lead for good with three more goals in the frame.

Arthit Thamwongsin, Masato Kitayama, and Phandaj Khuhakaew hit the back of the net to quickly put the visitors up at 5-2.

#ReadMore  PH Men's Ice Hockey books SEA Games semis berth

Another goal at the start of the third put the win beyond doubt for the visitors, after Khuhakaew registered his second of the night at the 40:34 mark.

Fuglister and Sanchez conspired for the two goals more scored by the Filipinos, but a huge long shot from Chayutapon Kulrat and another Kitayama point cancelled out these contributions at the end of 60 minutes.

Newly-installed head coach John De Castro rued the home side’s penalties and pointed it out in their post-match huddle.

“Our scouting report for Thailand was pretty good. But I don’t care if the shots were 48 to 14 or whatever; it’s a game of situations. And when you go down six men in the box, it’s hard. You can’t get a good rotation. You can’t get rhythm,” he said.

Nonetheless, De Castro knows the team has what it takes to get a result from Kuwait. “Stay focused. Stay out of the box. Play smart and support all the players in the team like we did in the first seven minutes. We’ll be alright.”

Earlier, defending champions Mongolia opened their campaign with a 5-3 win over Singapore.

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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