The Philippine women’s national football team forced Myanmar to a draw in its opener at the 30th SEA Games and now looks to book a spot in the semifinals when it takes on Malaysia on Friday. — PHILIPPINE FOOTBALL WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM TWITTER ACCOUNT

By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

THE Philippine women’s national football team got off the stranglehold of long-standing tormentor Myanmar by holding the latter to a nil-nil draw in the opener of women’s football at the 30th Southeast Asian Games on Tuesday at the Biñan Football Stadium in Laguna.

Had their number in recent matches with the Burmese side, the Malditas made sure it would not be a familiar refrain, especially playing on home soil, as they put up a gallant stand.

They stood toe-to-toe against Myanmar, which beat them, 6-0, when they met in the 2017 edition of the Games, throughout the match.

Camille Rodriguez and Claire Elisabeth Lim had good chances to put the host on the board early in the second half but Myanmar keeper Mya Phu Ngon proved to be up to the challenge.

The nil-nil draw earned for the two teams a point each in Group A, a result that Malditas coach Let Dimzon said they would take and try to build on as they shoot for a spot in the semifinals in their game against Malaysia on Friday, Nov. 29.

“We have been preparing the team mentally from the start. We lost our previous games against Myanmar so we made the adjustments, including in our transition play. And I think it materialize in this game,” said Ms. Dimzon postgame.

“It’s a good result for us. The training we had in Japan was a big help for us. This result helps us prepare against Malaysia. Our intention is to play in the semifinals,” she added.

Competition format in the SEA Games calls for the top two teams from the two groupings of three teams each advancing to the next round.

The Philippines-Malaysia match is set for 4 p.m. also at the Biñan Football Stadium.

Meanwhile, the Philippine men’s water polo team dug deep and fought to a 6-6 draw with Indonesia also on Tuesday at the Aquatics Center in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.

Trailing, 4-5 and 5-6, in the fourth and final quarter, the Filipinos managed to pull even and force the stalemate in the end.

Vincent Sicat and Paolo Serrano each scored a penalty goal to force the draw.

“This was a big result considering it was Indonesia, the 2017 silver medal winner,” said Philippine team head coach Rey Galang.

The national men’s polo team takes on Thailand today at 7 p.m.

In the tournament, the team with the best record takes the gold medal.