THE PHILIPPINE Under-18 handball team boosted its medal bid with a huge 40-25 victory over favorite Indonesia on Wednesday in the IHF Trophy Zone 1B at Panasonic Stadium in Shah Alam Selangor, Malaysia.
The nationals eye a spot in the finals when they battle host Malaysia on Thursday.
It was a huge bounce back win for the U18 team after dropping the opener when title favorite Thailand overcame an early deficit to score a 40-22 victory.
The Under-20 Philippine team, however, absorbed two consecutive losses, bowing to Malaysia, 39-18, after a 25-34 defeat to Indonesia.
It is a commendable performance, according to head coach Joanna Franquelli, considering the team it fielded in the U20 are mostly players from the Philippines’ U18 division.
“Our junior team are mostly youth players because we are preparing them for future tournaments,” said Franquelli.
Philippine Handball Federation secretary general Ernesto Jay Adalem, the Philippine delegation head for the event, said they are not putting any pressure on the young athletes and focus now is simply developing the teams.
“We are preparing for the youth and junior teams because this is where we have the biggest chances of winning in the region,” said Adalem.
Looking to develop officials as well, the PHF had three Filipino coaches attend a coaching course conducted by Wolfgang Luwak of Germany.
The IHF Trophy is program for developing countries for handball and is fully subsided by the International Handball Federation.