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Sure silver up for Polo Pinoy riders trounce Indons

Dante Navarro (The Philippine Star) - November 29, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine polo team produced a scintillating 6-4 1/2 victory over Indonesia yesterday to assure the country of the first silver in the 30th SEA Games while staying on track for a gold against Malaysia in Calatagan, Batangas.

The Pinoys, made up of Augustus Aguirre, Miguel Lopez, Stefano Juban and Vicente Bitong, fought back from 1-1/2 and 2-2 1/5 deficits before seizing control at 4-3 1/2 then holding sway to hack out the 1 1/2-point victory and clinch a berth for the gold-medal match with the Malaysians at the Inigo Zobel Polo Facility.

The Phl beat Malaysia, 8 1/2-5, in the second day of the A Division: 4-6 Goals Qualifying League but the latter stopped the erstwhile unbeaten Brunei, 8-5 1/2, later in the day to force a three-way tie at first at 2-1.

But the Phl and Malaysia clinched the final berths with higher goals scored than Brunei, which nipped the host, 8 1/2-8, in Sunday’s opener. 

Malaysia also beat Indonesia, 11-7 1/2, also last Sunday.

The gold medal match is set at 3 p.m. Sunday with the Phl confident but wary of its chances against Malaysia.

The Philippine men’s water polo team, closed out the night with a 7-4 victory over Thailand to boost its medal bid after salvaging a 6-6 standoff against Indonesia in Tuesday’s opener.

The hosts thus moved to second behind Indonesia, which edged Singapore, 7-5, in other men’s match. Indonesia also held off Thailand, 17-12, Wednesday. The Pinoys face off with the Singaporeans at 7 tonight  and Malaysia on Sunday.

“Because we won over them (Malaysians) doesn’t mean anything. We need to play solid on Sunday to win,” said Aguirre, a pro player in Australia, who delivered all but one of the team’s six goals in the match that was close throughout.

Meanwhile, action in Division B 0-2 Goals Qualifying League will start on Dec. 3 at the Miguel Romero Polo Facility, also in Calatagan, with Coco Garcia, Nicole Eusebio, Jam Eusebio, Mikee Romero and Santi Juban making up the squad. 

The polo team’s triumph more than made up for the setbacks suffered by the other Filipino bets in other fronts with the women’s polo team absorbing a numbing 5-32 loss to the powerhouse Thais at the New Clark City Aquatics Center in Capas, Tarlac and the women’s floorball squad taking a 1-8 beating from Singapore over at UP CHK gym.

In women’s water polo, the Thais proved just too much for the Nationals, scoring 16 points in the first half while holding the hosts to just four, two in each period.

The Thais never let up in the second half, coming away with six against the Filipinas’ one, pouring it all in the final period with 10 points while shutting down their rivals.

AUGUSTUS AGUIRRE POLO SEA GAMES STEFANO JUBAN VICENTE BITONG
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