|The Philippine women's indoor hockey team celebrates after beating Cambodia. Ivan Saldajeno|
By Ivan Saldajeno
LOS BAÑOS—The Philippines pulled off a breakthrough 4-3 win against Cambodia at the Centtro Mall Convention Center here on Saturday night that gave the host team a good position to secure a semifinal seat in the Southeast Asian Games women's indoor hockey event.
Maria Castillo saved the day for the Filipinas as she scored the game-winning goal with less than a minute left to salvage the win despite squandering a 3-1 halftime lead.
Skipper Denizelle Rasing drew first blood for the Philippines with a goal off a penalty corner in the 11th minute, while Jaylene Lumbo converted another penalty corner to make it 2-0 two minutes later.
Vita Sa struck one back for Cambodia in the 17th minute, but Rasing answered with her second goal of the night with less than two minutes left before halftime.
At the resumption of play, however, Kumari Seng struck back-to-back goals to force a 3-3 tie and put the Philippines' medal hopes in peril.
But Castillo converted on a penalty corner goal with 40 seconds remaining to finally give the home side the win.
With the victory, the Philippines, which finished its elimination round campaign by snapping its 0-3 start, now needs to wait for the result of the Malaysia-Cambodia game on Sunday night to determine if the team will make the semis or not.
Cambodia, which fell to one draw and two losses, needs to beat Malaysia to qualify for the semifinals, or else, the Philippines will enter the next round plus an assured bronze medal.
Malaysia settled for a 2-2 draw with Thailand earlier Saturday after Nur Aisyah Yaacob's 36th minute goal saved Malaysia from a potential defeat especially after Tikhamporn Sakulpithak and Jiratchaya Todkaew scored for Thailand to counter Noor Hasliza Ali's opening goal.
In men's action, Malaysia blanked Thailand, 2-0, and Singapore subdued Myanmar, 3-2.
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