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Against all odds for hockey squads

KUALA LUMPUR – Twenty-two members of the men’s and women’s indoor hockey teams got to see for the first time what the real courts look like on the eve of the competition in the 29th Southeast Asian Games.

Formed only last January, the teams trained at the Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) multi-purpose court and the Ninoy Aquino stadium where surfaces don’t come close to the real thing.

Christian Galicia, playing coach of the men’s team, said the indoor hockey court is bigger than a basketball court, similar to the size of futsal courts.

In terms of size, the EAC would suffice, according to Galicia, but the behavior of the ball is expected to be different once they try out the courts at the MiTECH Hall 4.

“Siyempre iba ang magiging talbog,” Galicia said.

Indoor hockey has been around in the country for some time, but the lack of facilities makes it hard to promote awareness for the Olympic sport.

Most of the national team members are footballers or volleyball players.

Celfin Naz, a varsity football player, finds the sport similar to football in terms of movement and tactics.

“Parang football lang sa galaw, kaya madali namin maintindihan,” said Nez.

Six players, including the goalkeeper, are fielded on the court with substitutions allowed during the game.

Six teams are taking part in the men’s division while five are entered in the distaff side.

On Monday, the men’s team takes on Malaysia at 10:30 a.m.

The women’s squad, on the other hand, plays two games, one against Thailand at 12 noon and the other against Malaysia at 6 p.m. (Rey Bancod)