by Waylon Galvez
Andrew Harris and Mark Vincent Dubouzet came through with solid performances as the Philippines scored a 2-0 win over Afghanistan in the 2019 Asian Beach Handball Championship Sunday afternoon in Weihai, China.
Harris, former team captain of the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons in the UAAP, fired 14 points while Dubouzet contributed 12 points for the national team, which improved its record to 1-1 after losing its opening match to defending champion Qatar (2-0) last Saturday.
The team of coach Jana Franquelli will next face Vietnan Monday afternoon.
“It was a good win for the team, a very big win actually considering we’re relatively new in the sport of handball,” said Franquelli, who is joined by Luzviminda Pacubas, Aurora Adriano, and JC Pangilinan in the coaching staff.
“The adjustment we made not only for this game against Afghanistan, but also before the tournament when we got new players, now we are seeing good results. So we’re hoping that we can continue to improve, and if we can get a few more wins then that’s good,” Franquelli added.
One of the key recruits of the handball national team is the 6-foot-4 Harris, who provided stability at the post with his height and athleticism.
The national team also displayed better defense against Afghanistan, which was ahead by four goals in the final two minutes of the first period, 10-14. Filipino defender Mac Valdez and goalkeeper Kenneth Sandaga made the necessary stops, while Harris and Dubouzet delivered the goals.
In the second period, the Nationals led from start to finish by scoring counterattack points – mostly on fast break opportunities – for a 24-18 win to complete a 2-0 victory. Jamael Pangandaman and Rey Joshua Tabuzo each finished with six points.
In the handball format, the two teams play two 10-minute periods. A team that captures both the periods automatically wins the match, but in case of a split, there will be a shootout to decide which team gets the third period.