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Splash! He’s back!

In the hopes of winning the gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia this year, the water polo national team is bringing back a veteran player – and probably a few more.

Former national team campaigner Dale Evangelista yesterday confirmed that veteran wing player Roy Cañete has been listed back to the squad that will compete in Kuala Lumpur this August.

“He’s coming back,” said Evangelista of the manytime national team member, who despite his retirement in 2007 has remained one of the top players in water polo here and abroad.

“He’s been competing abroad. Since 2008, Roy has played as import in a semi-pro league in the Middle East. He came back last August, and now he’ll be donning again the national team colors,” added Evangelista.

The national team will be aiming for the gold medal in the coming SEA Games where Singapore remains as the biggest threat. The best finish of the country in the event was in 2009 in Laos where the Philippines went home with the silver after losing to Singapore, 7-5, in the finals.

In the previous SEA Games in Singapore, the home team massacred a youthful Philippine Team, 26-3, in the single round robin and eventually finished last among five countries.

In the Asian Championship late last year in Japan, the national team again lost to Singapore in the eliminations, 9-7, with Cañete – together with some other veterans of the water polo squad – on the squad.

“We have a good mix of young and veteran players now. We have a Fil-Am who is finalizing his documents to get a Philippine passport,” said Evangletista, referring to San Diego, California native Brian Mojica.

“So it’s going to be an interesting team and we’re hoping to give Singapore a good fight in the SEA Games,” said Evangelista, a member of the coaching staff leaded by Rey Galang.

The coaching staff, according to Evangelista, is preparing a rigorous training camp for the national team is the lead up to the SEA Game, which may possibly include a stint in Europe and South Korea.