KUALA LUMPUR — Filipino-Canadian players Carlo Martin Tenedero and Paul Gabriel Sanchez will be allowed to play for the Philippine hockey team in the Southeast Asian Games after earlier encountering eligibility issues.
“This is a great relief for us and great morale boost for the team,” said team manager Petronilo Tigaronita of the development while thanking national team of mission Cynthia Carrion for securing the decision during meeting of delegation mission chiefs earlier in the day.
“Ma'm Cynthia told us she was successful in upholding the eligibility of our two players during their meeting this morning,” said Tigaronita, also the secretary general of local hockey organization Team Pilipinas.
Sanchez and Tenedero were scratched from the Philippine ice hockey lineup by the Malaysian hosts because both allegedly failed to meet the required 16-month residency requirement.
“But we have proof and documentation, including certification from their respective barangays that they have stayed in the Philippines since April 2016,” said teammate Francois Emmanuel Gautier, who arrived with Tigaronita ahead of the team in filing the appeal.
“We only had four days to get them.”
Ice hockey is making its debut in the 11-nation regional sports showcase.
“Sanchez is one of our strong forwards while Tenedero is one of our best defenders,” he noted.
The Philippines is considered among the gold-medal contenders in the event, with most of the players seeing action in the team that topped the second division in the Sapporo Asian Winter Games ice hockey tournament early this year.
“If we play to our potential, I can’t see any reason why we won’t win (the gold),” said Filipino-Swiss goalkeeper Gianpetro Iseppi in an interview before the squad left for Kuala Lumpur.
The Filipinos open their campaign against Indonesia on Monday at the Empire City Ice Arena in Damansara Perdana. They take on Singapore next before facing Malaysia and Thailand.
The team with the most number of wins in the five-nation, single round series bags the gold medal.