by Waylon Galvez
After finishing eighth overall out of 12 participants at the 2019 Asian Beach Handball Championship in China, national team coach Jana Franquelli said there is time to improve the roster and gain more experience in time for the Southeast Asian the country is hosting this year.
The team lost to Chinese Taipei in the battle for seventh, 2-1, to settle for the eighth spot in the tournament. Prior to that, the Philippines lost to Thailand, 2-0, in the crossover round of classification round.
It was a close game against Thailand, and Franquelli said it was the breaks of the game and the experience of their opponent that made the difference as they sustained a 20-16 and 22-18 decision in the two 10-minute periods.
In the battle for seventh place, the Philippines split the two periods against Taiwan, scoring a 21-20 win before losing 27-16 that forced a shootout, where the opposing team scored an 8-4 win.
“We could have won against Thailand, we could have won too against Chinese Taipei,” said Franquelli, who is being assisted Aurora Adriano, Luzviminda Pacubas and JC Pangilinan. “But the experience of our opponents was just too much. They executed well in the final moments of the game, and we just can’t on both ends.”
“By finishing eighth, however, it was still an accomplishment, an achievement considering this is our first time to join the event. We’re able to finish higher than Japan, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Indonesia – teams that had experience playing in the World Cup,” she added.
Franquelli said that the team’s current composition of Marv Dubouzet, Jamael Pangandaman, Dhane Varela, RA Agtarap, Andrew Harris, Wes Telan, Jacob Baccay, Mac Valdez, Kenneth Sandaga and Rey Joshua Tabuzo did well in the Asian Championship.
What the team needs, she said, is to play more international matches before the SEA Games to gain more experience.
“We gained experience and most of all, our team gained respect within the Asian Handball community,” said Franquelli, the only female mentor with female coaching staff in the Asian men’s tournament.
“But we need to be exposed more by playing several more matches, probably in tournaments or friendly games before we compete in the SEA Games,” added Franquelli.