|The floorball teams of the Philippines and Thailand pose together after the game. Ivan Saldajeno|
By Ivan Saldajeno
BIÑAN—Even if the expected outcome seemed imminent considering how they fare on paper, the Philippine floorball team showed heart against Thailand in the semifinals of the Asia Oceania Floorball Confederation Cup at the Alonte Sports Arena on Thursday night.
Entering the tournament, the Philippines is ranked 35th in the world floorball rankings, while Thailand is way ahead of the team at 14th, number one in Asia.
But at least in the final two periods, both teams battled as if they are just closely apart in the world rankings.
In the last 40 minutes, both the Philippines and Thailand engaged in a shootout.
If not for a first period that saw Thailand scoring four straight goals following the Philippines' opener, the game would have been tight.
So despite the 13-7 win, Thailand coach Kenneth Koh lauded the Philippines for its efforts.
"They have a much-improved squad—new players, new faces," Koh, a Singaporean national, told Dugout Philippines after the game.
In fact, he even added that he already anticipated the host squad going all out.
"This is not reflective of the rankings.... I'm not surprised that they scored goals. They have some pretty good players," Koh continued.
But now that his team already got a glimpse of the Philippines' tendencies, Koh said that Thailand will train hard so the team can get a more impressive win should they meet again in the Southeast Asian Games, in which the floorball tourney will take place at the Centtro Mall in Los Baños, which is also part of Laguna.
"I'll take this game away with learning points—no doubt about it," he concluded.
Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno