MANILA, Philippines -- Think of them as the Pinoy "Cool Runnings."
A hockey team from Manila has won international honors by topping the Bauhinia (bronze) division of the 2012 Hong Kong Amateur Hockey Club (HKAHC) International Amateur Ice Hockey Tournament this weekend.
|Photo of the Bauhinia (bronze) division medal of the 2012 Hong Kong Amateur Hockey Club (HKAHC) International Amateur Ice Hockey Tournament. Photo by Mark Keng.
The Manila Thunders is actually an amalgamation of players (think Smart Gilas) from several different teams in the Manila Ice Hockey League. Previously known as the Manila Comets, the team is currently composed of expatriates, Filipino hockey enthusiasts and some Hawaiian players recruited by Manila Thunders goalie and former league commissioner Ricardo Chao.
In an interview, Chao said the Thunders' gold finish in the Bauhinian division is one of the team's strongest showings since he first started joining the tournament 4 years ago.
"For our first game, we lost to Beijing Hokay, 7-1, which is a professional team that has some national players in the roster. The only other team we lost to is Mitsubishi Corp. from Japan, and it was a really tight game. We lost by a single point after going into overtime," he said in an interview with ABS-CBNnews.com.
After the two losses, the Thunders redeemed themselves by defeating the HKAIH Troopers, 15-0, and then the HKAHC Warriors, 8-1.
The two wins propelled the Thunders to the Bauhinian Division finals where the Manila team defeated Macau ISF, 3-2.
"It was a very tight game and the score was tied, 2-2, before going into overtime. We were the only team with the most ice time because two of our games went into overtime," he said.
Chao said about five of the 13 Manila Thunders who joined the HK tournament are Filipino or half-Filipino. They are Francois Gautier (forward), Richmond Yu (forward), Mark Keng (goalie), LR Lancero (defense), and Pierre Navasero (defense).