IT’S a sport still unfamiliar to Filipinos but one which vows to deliver for the country in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Floorball returns in the SEA Games calendar of events when the Philippines hosts the biennial meet on Nov. 3 to Dec. 11 and where the sport hopes to complete a sweep of the gold in both the men and women’s divisions.
“I think we can win both golds in the SEA Games,” said team manager Peter Eriksson in the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Amelie Hotel-Manila on Tuesday.
Philippine Floorball Association President Ralph Ramos described the sport as basically ‘hockey minus the skates.’
“And you don’t play on ice. You just need a stick, a ball, rubber shoes and you’re ready to go,” said the floorball official, who was also at the session presented by San Miguel Corp., Braska Restaurant, Amelie Hotel, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) along with coach Noel Alm Johansson and player Ryan Hallden.
The game is played with the object of shooting the ball in the goal with the use of a stick. It is played 5-on-5 plus a goal keeper each, with each team maximizing all 20 players in their roster.
“It’s very fast-paced, very exciting, and yung nature ng sport is easy to play,” said Ramos.
It was first played in the 2015 edition of the SEA Games, where the Filipinos finished last out of the four countries which competed.
“Yung team natin talagang last dahil inexperience pa tayo,” said Ramos.
But constant foreign exposure despite the limited budget of the federation had help the team and the sport grow and develop in the country.
From July 7-12, the Philippines will actually host the Asia-Oceania Floorball Confederation Cup (AOFC Cup) set at the Alonte Sports Complex in Binan which forms part of the federation’s preparation for the SEA Games.
The national team also played in some tournaments in Sweden, where the sport originated, joined a qualifying tournament in Bangkok just last January, and only two weeks ago, won a silver medal in a Singapore meet courtesy of the women’s squad.
“We hope to surprise everyone in this tournament and be a good build up for our campaign in the SEA Games,” said Ramos of the Asia-Oceania meet to be held this weekend.
Thailand and Singapore remain as the biggest threat to the Filipinos’ gold medal bid in the SEA Games, with Malaysia and Indonesia completing the five-team cast.