Azkals, Malditas enjoy luck of draw
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - October 16, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines drew a lighter group in both the men’s and women’s football competitions in yesterday’s drawing of lots for the 30th Southeast Asian Games at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza in Pasay City.

The Azkals were bracketed in Group A with Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Timor Leste with only the Malaysians, the silver medalists in the last edition of the biennial meet two years ago in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as the biggest stumbling block in their bid to make the semifinals. The top two in the group advance.

The other group is composed of defending champion Thailand, 2017 SEAG bronze medal winner Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Singapore and Brunei.

 Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino and chiefs of mission from Malaysia and Laos graced the ceremonies.

In the six-nation women’s side, the Malditas got the luck of the draw as they were bunched in Group A with Myanmar and Malaysia, the bronze medalist last time, as compared to the tough Group B composed of reigning titlist Vietnam, silver medalist Thailand and Indonesia.

And the Malditas like their chances.

“Being a host gave us the advantage to be in good groups. We now have a strong chance of making it to the semis because we had already played Malaysia and Myanmar in the AFF (ASEAN Football Federation) that showed us their strengths and weaknesses,” said Malditas coach Let Dimzon.

Dimzon said the key is winning their very first match.

“The first game is really important because securing three points will really put us in a great position,” she added.

In volleyball, the Philippine men’s squad picked Group B where it will play Indonesia and Vietnam, the silver and bronze medalists, respectively, as well as Cambodia.

The other group is composed of gold medal winner Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore and Timor Leste.

“We just saw that there are already four teams in Group A so we decided to balance it by joining Group B,” said men’s coach Dante Alinsunurin.

This came after Malaysia withdrew from participating in both divisions.

This means the women’s section will have just five teams – the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore – instead of six, and will play just play in one group using a single-round robin format.

Water Polo, underwater hockey and badminton also conducted their own drawing of lots on the same day.

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