Philippine handball teams vie for honors in IHF Trophy in Malaysia
Philippine handball team coaches Joanna Franquelli and Jamael Pangandaman with International Handball Federation’s Dr. Frantisek Taborsky and Dr. Dietrich Spate during the IHF National Coaches course last month at the Japan Institute of Sports Sciences.

THE Philippine national handball teams vie for honors in the International Handball Federation Trophy for Asia on April 16 to 22 in Kuala Lumpur.

The tournament is considered as the Southeast Asian age-group championships and focus will be on the Philippine juniors and youth teams.

“Among other events, it is in these categories that we have the strongest chance,” said Philippine Handball Federation secretary general Dr. Ernesto Jay Adalem.

While focus is on the juniors team composed of players born 1998, and the youth squad featuring players born 2000 during the IHF Trophy Asia, the men’s beach handball team is also among the teams the PHF is counting on to make a mark as the federation bats for the inclusion of the sport in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games the Philippines is hosting.

The Philippines won bronze in the SEA Beach Handball in Dumaguete last year. In its first international competition, the Philippine women’s indoor handball team claimed bronze in the Southeast Asian Championships in Thailand.

“The objective is to contribute to the goal which is to win the overall championship for the Philippines and also to raise the profile of handball in the Philippines,” said Philippine team head coach Jana Franquelli, noting that handball is an Asiad and Olympic sport.

“We asked for more flexibility in considering handball, we want to contribute and we hope to be given the chance,” Franquelli added.

The beach handball teams also look to prove their worth, with handball one of the showcase events in the inaugural Philippine Beach Games set April 28 and 29.

The calendar for the 2019 SEA Games has yet to be finalized and PHF is confident its teams and officials will do a fine job if given the chance.

“We have nothing to lose by including handball. Aside from promoting the sport, we can also create opportunities not just for aspiring players but also for referees, coaches, technical officials, sports managers and entrepreneurs,” said Franquelli.

The PHF is holding year-round clinics and tournaments in key provinces in the Philippines. Beach handball is also one of the feature sports in the coming National Beach Games next month in Pangasinan.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @spinph