PHI hammers THA, 6-5; books third IFF Men’s World Floorball Championships bid

Photo by Francis Lumahan

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Another floorball history has been made as the Philippine Men’s Floorball Team bagged the gold medal at the Men’s World Floorball Championships (WFC) – Asia Oceania Floorball Confederation (AOFC) Qualifiers 2024 held at the Philsports Arena on May 25. 

Defeating Thailand 6-5, the 20-man Filipino squad also secured a spot at the upcoming WFC 2024 in Malmö, Sweden. This will be their third consecutive appearance at the WFC, following their wildcard entrance in 2020 and their hard-earned spot in 2022.

It was an intense see-saw battle between the two Asia’s floorball powerhouse. Defender Simon Sicat Laraño started the ball rolling as he scored the PH’s first goal; answered by Thai’s forward Simon Johansson’s goal for an equalizer. The first period ended 2-2 with Filipino center Lucas Werelius seizing the opportunity of a penalty shot.

Photo by Gabriel Suarez

Thai defender Santipong Sukkasem restored the lead at the halfway point of the match. Team PH had numerous missed opportunities during the second period but their stone-wall defense kept their rival from scoring. Laraño made the Filipino crowd go wild when he pitched another goal, ending the period with 3-3.

Werelius sealed the deal for this exhilarating game when he scored the winning goal at the 53-minute mark assisted by forward Melvin Alm Mendoza. 

Thailand, a great rival of the Philippines in floorball, initially topped this year’s qualifiers with an undefeated record, beating the Philippines in the group stage. However, the latter got their sweet revenge this time around. Their recent championship matchup was at last year’s 32nd Cambodia Southeast Asian Games, where Thailand won gold and the Philippines took silver.

Photo by Gabriel Suarez

“[This victory] means everything because you know, the floorball community in the Philippines is [just starting to grow] and this [is] a great showcase for us— to show the sport and the intensity and the actual level of all the Filipino players. So this [is] something for us to strive for. So, [we’re] really, really happy,” shares Team Captain Lucas Öijvall Perez.

Photo by Gabriel Suarez

“Maraming Salamat po for everybody… giving us comments, and cheering for us during the tournament…it means everything. I mean, if it wasn’t [for the Filipino fans], we are nothing, right?” Perez adds.

Thailand and Australia, after clinching silver and bronze respectively, will join Philippines as AOFC teams heading to the WFC 2024 on December 7-15, 2024.

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Text by Ken Russell M. Peñaflor and Anna Lourdes R. Cruz
Photos by Francis Lumahan and Gabriel Suarez