SINGAPORE - The water polo national team put on a clinic as it handed Zimbabwe a dominant 16-2 victory in a tune-up match as the two teams prepare for the 2019 FINA Water Polo Challengers' Cup Sunday at the OCBC Aquatic Center.
Banking on an intact roster and experience of playing together, the Filipinos were precise in executing plays and solid in defense in a first taste of action after arriving Saturday morning.
Philippine Team mentor Rey Galang said that even with a convincing win, it's no guarantee that things will be the same when they face Zimbabwe again on Wednesday at both are bracketed in Group A of the 10-nation tournament.
"Of course it's a friendly game, but the good thing about that is we can see that our players are ready, they are focused and prepared," said Galang, who has been with the national team as coach in 1995.
Aside from Zimbabwe, the Philippines will open its campaign against Ireland this Tuesday, Malaysia on Thursday and Singapore on Friday. In Group B are Indonesia, Chinese Taipei, Austria, India and Hong Kong.
The top teams from each group will battle for the title on Sunday.
Former national team member Dale Evangetista, now a coach, said that this type of international tournaments is important in the development of athletes since the team is preparing for the 30th Southeast Asian Games the country is hosting on November 30 to December 11.
"The experience they've gained playing together as a unit, and then second the experience of playing in international tournaments, these are two important things in the development of our team," said Evangelista.
Evangelista credited the support of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) headed by its chairman Butch Ramirez and the Philippine Swimming Inc. (PSI) led by its president Lani Velasco for making these international tournaments possible.
The members of the national team are team captain Tani Gomez, Roy Canete, Mark Valdez, Matthew Yu, Mico Anota, Macgyver Reyes, Adan Gonzales, Paolo Serrano, Abnel Amiladjid, Rey Salonga, Romark Belo, Mummar Alamara and Fil-Am recruit Vince Sicat of Santa Clara University.
The 21-year-old Sicat played three years for the Broncos - a Division 1 school in the NCAA - and has recently finished his studies. This FINA tournament is his third with the national team.
Date: October 7, 2019 | Newspaper: ESPN5 | Source: https://www.espn.com/story/_/id/27779109/ph-water-polo-team-dominates-zimbabwe-singapore