Written by : Merey Tan
The atmosphere in OCBC Aquatic centre was electrifying. Students from ITE College East, Republic Polytechnic and Clementi Town Secondary School turned up in droves to cheer Team Singapore in the water polo gold medal playoff.
In the round robin match on 16 July, Singapore beat Indonesia 8-6. What would the outcome be for these two evenly matched team during the finals? Singapore eventually came out tops with a nail-biting finish as they won the gold-medal match 10-9.
Although Singapore got possession of the ball first, Team Indonesia scored the first goal. Chiam Kunyang (#7) scored the first goal for Singapore. Both teams fought hard and the first quarter ended 4-3 in Singapore’ s favour.
Every goal was hard-earned and the second quarter ended 6-6 while third quarter finished with a score of 8-8 with Captain Koh Jianying scoring 2 consecutive goals for Singapore.
Nail-biting moments ensued in the last quarter as both teams went all out to stop one another from scoring. Chiam Kunyang tossed in the last ball to pull the score apart at 10-8.
Team Indonesia managed to sneak in another ball with 15 seconds left but it was too little too late as score stood at 10-9 when the timer reached zero.
People were jumping out of their seats and the players started hugging one another.
History had been made. The first time that water polo is featured at the ASEAN University Games – the host country fulfilled the nation’s hopes.
“13 men, 1 goal” – that is the belief that every team member stood by. Finally, this young team has risen to the occasion to mark Singapore as the undisputed king of water polo in South East Asia.
In the bronze medal playoff, Thailand and Philippines faced off with the Thais winning comfortably 17-7. The Thais dominated from the start and finished the first quarter 6-0.
Mico Anota (#5), from Philippines netted the first and second goal. However, the Thais continued to unleash its attack against goalie Sean Malachi Enero. By the third quarter, the gap continued to widen to 17-3.
The Philippines coach made some changes in the line up for the last quarter but it was too little, too late.
Philippines goalie Antonio Jose Ching Cuanglo was able to stem the onslaught from the Thais. Mico ensured the Philippines would trim the deficit and duly finished when he was awarded a penalty shoot.
Team Philippines seemed to have regained some energy and scored 4 goals in the last quarter but victory went to the Thais with a score of 17-7.