John Alicante Embile (Bukit Merah Secondary, floorball)

ST Young Star Award: Bukit Merah Secondary School's John Alicante Embile not floored by nerves

John Alicante Embile has been named The Straits Times' Young Star award winner, an honour bestowed on school athletes who stood out during the National School Games this year. The award is backed by 100Plus.
John Alicante Embile has been named The Straits Times' Young Star award winner, an honour bestowed on school athletes who stood out during the National School Games this year. The award is backed by 100Plus.ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

With the gold medal on the line, teenager defies nerves to score in penalty shootout

John Alicante Embile had never taken a penalty before, and he had already seen two teammates and two opponents miss in the shoot-out at the Schools National B Division boys' floorball final.

Tied at 6-6 in regulation and 0-0 in the shoot-out, it was left to the Bukit Merah Secondary School student to decide the winner. He admitted later that the pressure from the immense responsibility had scared him then.

But he plucked up his courage, picked up his stick, stepped on the ball, and began dribbling towards the Catholic High School goalkeeper before planting a confident shot into the corner of the goal.

Seven months on from that memorable win, the 17-year-old, who hails from the Philippines, still re-watches that match on Toggle.

He told The Straits Times: "I still reminisce about that glorious occasion... and we are very honoured to rewrite our school floorball history.

"From the penalty, I learnt to conquer my fears and be a responsible player."

For his courage, conversion and contribution to his school's first title in eight years, John has been awarded The Straits Times' Young Star accolade, an award for school athletes who shone during the National School Games this year. It is backed by 100Plus.

VALUABLE LESSON

From the penalty, I learnt to conquer my fears and be a responsible player.

JOHN ALICANTE EMBILE, winner of The Straits Times Young Star award.

ST sports editor Lee Yulin said: "It is not often that an athlete as young as John has to bear the burden of being a gold-medal decider under such challenging circumstances. He survived the tough challenge and is a stronger person because of it, making him a worthy winner of the award."

Despite his achievements, and with floorball fever approaching with the ongoing World Championships in the Czech Republic from today until Dec 9, John is not getting ahead of himself.

"I do dream of playing at international level but, for now, I am not thinking that far ahead yet," he said.

"Being given a chance to represent a country takes tremendous effort to be inside the team. For now, I am just satisfied playing at a school level."

John, who has just completed his O levels, aims to progress to a polytechnic here before furthering his education overseas.

While he has ambitions to become an architect "and help build a better community and a safe environment for everyone", floorball will always be his passion and "stress reliever".

He said: "I enjoy the thrill and challenges it gives.

"With the sport growing in Singapore, there are bound to be new competitions and greater opportunity to further pit myself against better players and learn more about the sport."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2018, with the headline 'Courage under pressure'. Print Edition | Subscribe