DEFENDING champion Philippines ran away with a 15-1 avalanche against Malaysia to kickstart its repeat bid in the 30th Southeast Asian Games ice hockey tournament on Sunday at the SM MOA Skating Rink.
John Steven Fuglister was at the center of a snowstorm of goals for the hosts, completing a hat-trick as his side started their campaign on a winning note.
The forward set up Carl Michael Montano for the opening goal at the 12:30 mark of the first period in what turned out to be a portent of things to come.
The duo connected once again with 2:17 left in the opening frame that hiked the Filipinos' lead to 4-0.
Chee Ming Bryan Lim outsmarted the Philippine defense at the 15:51 mark of the second period to get Malaysia on board at 5-1, but five consecutive goals, including one from Eishner Jigsmac Sibug off of an assist from Fuglister and Montano made it 10-1 with 7:13 left.
It was all Philippines from there, with Sibug delivering the coup de grace with a quick goal with 1:29 left to play.
"It's a relief that we got a good start in the tournament but right now, I think we got to stay humble and recognize that it's just the first step on our road back to the Finals," said Fuglister after he finished with three goals and three assists.
Sibug also had a hat-trick of his own, to go with two assists, as Montano, Lenard Lancero, and BJ Imperial all had two goals to their names. Carlo Tenedero and Jann Gefrey So Tiong both had one conversion each as the Philippines' aggressive style was in full display with its 51 shots on goal.
The Philippines return to action on Tuesday against Singapore.