by Brian Yalung
Bianca Yasmine Cuevas of the Philippine Women’s Hockey Team admits that winning the gold medal at the 2019 IIHF Women’s Hockey Challenge Cup Division 1 held at the Zayed Sports City Ice Rink in Abu Dhabi has yet to really sink in.
It has always been the dream of Cuevas to see a Philippine women’s hockey team, be part of it and hand the country a gold medal. Following their conquest, all that has now become a reality.
“For that dream to finally be a reality after all these years, it’s surreal. To be a part of this historic event is a true honor and a great privilege. I’m beyond grateful for my teammates who I am proud to call my sisters and for our amazing, dedicated coaches. This wouldn’t be possible without them,” said Cuevas in an exclusive interview with Manila Bulletin Sports Online.
Looking over the tournament statistics, Cuevas was tops in scoring and assists. In 3 games, she converted 5 goals and had six assists. Two of those five goals came at a crucial game, the final game against host nation UAE.
“To score the first goal in less than a minute proved that we were in control of the game. I felt so pumped and fired up to score more. We had a lot of great scoring chances but UAE’s goalie was pretty fired up too,” said Cuevas.
Though the team was confident of their chances against UAE, Cuevas admits that there was a point that she got slightly worried. That was until Danielle Imperial made a goal at the 39:53 mark in period 2.
“Danielle scored and it was like the fire sparked again. We were ready to bring that in the 3rd period and take it all the way. Although UAE scored with about just 3 minutes left in the game, our coaches reminded us to keep calm and keep playing our game. Before I knew it, the game is over and we won,” she narrated.
Cuevas was born and raised in Manila but studies and plays hockey in Canada. She has been residing there since September 2016.
The 20-year-old, who plays center-forward of the PH women’s team, started taking up hockey at the age of 9. She actually started out as a figure skater before shifting to hockey due to the influence of her older brother.
According to Cuevas, next up for the Philippine Women’s Hockey Team is the WCCOA. But before that, some of them will be taking part in a recreational league in Hong Kong.
“Some of us are joining a recreational league in Hong Kong called the Hockey 5’s. It’s happening in about 2 weeks,” she ended.