Emotions run high as PH water polo ends 8-year medal drought
MANILA, Philippines – A silver medal from the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games meant the world to the Philippine men's water polo team on Sunday night, December 1 as the Nationals ended an eight-year medal drought in the regional biennial meet.
"Proud ako kasi lahat ng pinaghirapan namin, hard work and ‘yung mga pinagdaanan namin, sobrang hirap so kumbaga worth it sa amin lahat na iyon," said team captain Tani Gomez, who last won a medal in the 2011 SEA Games water polo tournament.
(I’m proud because all of our efforts, hard work and what we went through were so challenging, but they are all worth it now.)
After Indonesia virtually captured the gold, the Philippines held off Malaysia's comeback bid to win 14-11 in the silver medal match. (READ: PH water polo sets sights on SEA Games 2019 podium finish)
But the Nationals felt like they "made history" when they forced a shock 6-6 draw against 27-time SEA Games water polo titlist Singapore last Friday, November 29.
The powerhouse squad got dethroned as Indonesia took the top of the table over Malaysia, 14-7, on Friday. Singapore settled for bronze.
"Kasi iyon lang ‘yung time na we made history because for a long time, never namin matalo ‘yung Singapore. Emotional kami kasi very proud din kami na natalo namin ‘yung Singapore," added Gomez.
(That was the time that we made history because for a long time, we couldn't beat Singapore. We were emotional because we're very proud to defeat Singapore.)
The 38-year-old Gomez, who was part of the Philippine team that copped a silver in the country's hosting of the 2005 SEA Games, believes that he's nowhere near the end of his career as he targets to bring home a gold with his young, but talented squad.
"Mahaba-haba pa rin ang career ko," said Gomez. "Hindi pa natatapos ‘yung journey namin, may isusunod pa so next time na ulit."
(My career is far from over. Our journey is not yet done and there will still be more to come, so until next time.) – Rappler.com