'Like a dream come true': Philippine ice hockey team cherishes home-court edge
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Ice Hockey Team started their title defense in front of a sold out crowd in the 30th Southeast Asian Games ice hockey tournament held at the SM Skating Mall of Asia on Sunday.
Giving the home crowd a show to remember, the Filipino skaters dealt Malaysia a 15-1 beatdown with the audience roaring each time the puck hit the back of the net.
Playing in an atmosphere like Sunday night's, Defender Carl Montano says, was simply astounding.
Carl Montano of Hockey Philippines talks about playing in front of the Filipino home crowd here: "It's like a dream come true"— Luisa Morales (@mluisamorales_) December 1, 2019
The Filipino skaters scored an emphatic 15-1 victory over Malaysia in their SEA Games opener | @StarSportsHub @PhilstarNews #SEAGames2019 pic.twitter.com/14FPUiqsQD
"It's amazing playing in front of the Philippines, even in the Challenge Cup of Asia two years ago... Especially now, sold-out crowd? It's amazing," Montano said.
"Just playing in front of all the Filipinos? It's like a dream come true," he added.
Montano scored two goals for the Filipino skaters in the rout while captain Steven Fuglister was the most productive with three goals and three assists in the match.
For his part, the full capacity crowd was an unusual but welcome sight.
"Usually we don't have many people watching us, so it's crazy, this energy. We all appreciate everyone who comes out and watches and we hope people keep coming out to watch our games," Fuglister said.
The Filipinos hope to take another victory when they face Singapore on Tuesday.