This photo taken on August 15, 2017 shows head coach Daniel Brodan (R) giving instructions to members of the Philippines men's ice hockey team, dubbed the "Mighty Ducks", during a practice session at a mall skating rink in Manila ahead of their games at the Southeast Asian Games (SEAGames) in Malaysia.
The Philippines' gold-medal bid in ice hockey got a shot in the arm after two of its key players earned the go-signal from Southeast Asian Games organizers to compete.
Carlo Martin Tenedero and Paul Gabriel Sanchez have been allowed to play in the SEA Games after the country's men's ice hockey team won its appeal to reinstate the two Fil-Canadians in the team Saturday.
Both players were earlier disqualified for allegedly violation eligibility rules.
"This is a great relief for us and great morale boost for the team," said team manager Petronilo Tigaronita.
Tenedero and Sanchez were initially removed from the lineup after the hosts claimed both failed to meet the required 16-month residency rule under international standards.
"But we have proof and documentation, including certification from their respective barangays that they have stayed in the Philippines since April 2016," said teammate Francois Emmanuel Gautier, who arrived with Tigaronita ahead of the team in filing the appeal.
"We only had four days to get them," he added.
The Philippines is considered to be the favorites to rule ice hockey, which is making its debut in the regional event.
"If we play to our potential, I can't see any reason why we won't win [the gold]," said Filipino-Swiss goalkeeper Gianpetro Iseppi in an interview before the squad left for Kuala Lumpur.
The Filipinos open their campaign against Indonesia on Monday at the Empire City Ice Arena in Damansara Perdana, a new commercial hub in this bustling and progressive Malaysian capital.
They take on Singapore next then, Malaysia before closing out their stint against Thailand on Thursday.
The team that finishes with the most number of wins bags the gold medal.
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