SINGAPORE - In 2018, floorballer John Alicante Embile told The Straits Times that he dreamt of playing at the international level.
He was then 17 and had won the ST Young Star of the Month award after scoring the decisive penalty that gave Bukit Merah Secondary the Schools National B Division boys' floorball title.
On Tuesday (May 31), Embile, now 21, achieved his dream - he made his international debut for the Philippines against South Korea in the Men's World Floorball Championship Qualifiers at the OCBC Arena.
Of his maiden appearance in the Philippine jersey, he said: "I didn't have much expectations for myself as the intensity of the national team is very high. I was really eager to contribute and play a part which I did in the third period.
"I was satisfied with my performance. I am looking forward to improving more and getting more feedback from my coaches."
Despite being able to stomach the pressure of a penalty shootout four years ago, Embile admitted that he still found his debut a relatively nerve-wracking affair because "there's a lot of expectations from the crowd and the coaches".
He completed his diploma in architecture at the Singapore Polytechnic in March this year and will be working in Singapore for three years before pursuing tertiary studies overseas.
But the forward, who went on to become one of five nominees for the ST Young Athlete of the Year in 2019, is not giving up on his floorball career and hopes the Philippines will qualify for the Nov 5-13 Men's World Championships in Switzerland.
Embile, whose older sister Edelyn plays for the women's national team, said: "As I have been based in Singapore, I have never really got to travel much. One of the few things I wanted to do was to travel and experience the real intensity of the world championships."
His ultimate goal? To have his parents on the sidelines while he is in his nation's colours.