Leste Philippines and Timor Leste in action. Photo credit: Zing News

Fernandez: Promising start for Team PH

May 8, 2022 People's Tonight 221 views

HANOI — Philippine Sports Commission Commissioner Ramon Fernandez praised the men’s football and handball teams for a job well done in their opening matches, victories that will uplift the confidence of Filipino athletes in the 31st Southeast Asian Games here.

“Buena mano. We’re off to a good start. It’s a good sign for the entire Philippine delegation,” said Fernandez, the Team Philippines chef de mission.

The Filipino booters were fearless in attacking Timor Leste for a 4-0 win at the start of men’s football at the Viet Tri Stadium in Phu Tho while the men’s handball squad likewise began its campaign with aplomb, pulling off an 18-16, 18-16 upset of Thailand at Tuan Chau Island in Quang Nihn province.

The men’s national football team took a one-day break before facing host Vietnam on Sunday in a crucial tiff that could determine their odds of progressing to the semifinals.

Grabbing a bronze medal in the 2019 SEAG, the Filipino beach handball athletes seek a second consecutive victory as they tackle host Vietnam, the defending champions, on Saturday.

“We’re going up against the host country. Let’s hope and pray that we will be able to sustain what we have started,’’ said Fernandez.

The PSC shelled out P232 million to fund the entire participation of the 908-strong Philippine delegation, including 641 athletes gearing up to corner a large chunk of the gold medals at stake in 38 of the 40 sports in the SEA Games program.

There are no Filipino entries in petanque and Chinese/elephant chess or xianggi.

The PSC staff were likewise on hand to provide assistance and have begun distributing the allowances of the athletes and coaches.

“As chef de mission, I will make sure that every athlete will be taken care of for them to perform at their best,“ said Fernandez.

The national kickboxing team, hoping to seize four gold medals at the most, will open its campaign on Sunday while teams from women’s football, kurash/judo, rowing and diving have already settled after arriving on Friday.

The main wave of Filipino athletes, coaches and officials are expected to check in on Tuesday right after the national elections on Monday.