Football and beach handball kick off the country’s participation in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam when they see action in the preliminaries Friday.

The beach handball team clashes with 2019 silver medalist Thailand at the Bac Ninh Sports University Gymnasium to jumpstart its bid of eclipsing its bronze-medal finish at the 2019 edition that the country hosted.

After Thailand, the team will face defending champion Vietnam on Saturday and Singapore on Sunday.

They will take again Thailand on Monday, Vietnam on Tuesday and Singapore on Wednesday in the double-round robin format.

The team is fielding the same lineup that won the SEAG bronze the previous edition composed of Daryoush Zandi, Dhane Miguelle Varela, Josef Maximilliam Valdez, Rey Joshua Tabuzo, John Michael Pasco, Jamael Pangandaman, Manuel Lasangue Jr., Andrew Michael Harris, Mark Vincent Dubouzet and Van Jacob Baccay.

The PH booters, for their part, also aim for a semifinal finish as they open their campaign against Timor Leste at the Viet Tri Stadium.

They are drawn alongside 2019 winner Vietnam, which they will face on May 8, and Myanmar, which they will collide with on May 10.

Odds are stacked against coach Norman Fegidero’s side, but they are taking a step-by-step approach as the Filipinos hope to make some surprises in the group stage.

Source: Manila Bulletin (