Lady booters favored over Laos in SEAG opener
- Joey Villar, Nelson Beltran () - December 3, 2007 - 12:00am

BANGKOK – The Philippine lady booters open their campaign today in the 24th Southeast Asian Games fancied to beat newcomer Laos.

The RP XI clashes with its Laos counterpart at 3:30 p.m. at the Tumbon Mueangpug Stadium in Nakhon Ratchasima, eyeing a slot in the crossover semifinals.

The RP-Laos duel is a virtual knockout setto for the second semis seat in their bracket with defending champion Vietnam looking so formidable for both in the group.

The Philippines, however, looms as the odds-on pick against the Laos side making only its initial appearance in the biennial meet.

PSC commissioner Richie Garcia told The STAR in a phone interview that the RP belles are in high spirits especially with their Fil-foreign now in Nakhon Ratchasima.

Philippine football officials opted to send here their ladies team over the men’s squad, believing the former has the better chance of winning a medal.

The ladies finished fourth while the men narrowly missed the semifinals on a sorry loss to Malaysia in their last game in the qualifying round in the 2005.

Minus their Fil-foreign recruits, the ladies put up strong stand before losing by only one goal to both the Malaysians and the Indons in the recent Asian Football Federation championship in Myanmar. The team, however, was routed  by the Vietnamese, 1-9.

Football sec-gen Pabs Araneta believes the coaching staff has covered all bases in the latter part of their training back home.

“We’re optimistic we can make the semis. That’s the initial goal and we take it from there,” said Araneta.

“Definitely, Vietnam is much, much stronger than us but we’re stronger than Laos,” added Araneta.

Six teams are entered in women’s football with Myanmar, Malaysia and Thailand comprising the other group.

Making up the RP XI are Edna Agravante, Merlo Albano, Elizabeth Alley, Claudine Alquiros, Karol Joy Barrientos, Marielle Benitez, Joanna Marina Castro, Mallory Lauren Dayot, Rachelle delos  Reyes, Marnelli Dimzon, Chantal Esperanza, Nadia Galang, Angeline Mae Impelido, Patrice Mae Impelido, Ruchell Luto, Loren Mercado, Camille Nierras, Marilou Rubio and Maria Sarah Sumalde.

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