Panamanian envoy aims to hold another air hockey tilt

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Panamanian Ambassador to the Philippines Roberto Vallarino said that he aims to hold another air hockey tournament in June at the Power Station in Power Plant Mall in Rockwell, Makati City. Vallarino held a similar tilt in the same place on March 30.

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“My future plans are to keep doing tournaments and I believe the next one will be on the 7th of June in Power Station in Power Plant Mall so people can come and compete for free, so in this way, they can experience the excitement of playing,” Vallarino told The Manila Times.

Vallarino hopes that the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) will help him promote the sport of air hockey. “Mr. Garcia [PSC Chairman Ricardo Garcia] was in attendance last Sunday, and I’m very sure he likes what he saw.”

Air hockey according to Vallarino, is played by two players equipped with mallets and a puck on a low-friction playing table. The special table produces air that keeps the puck moving in high velocity hence the name. He said that there are international rules for one-mallet air hockey games but none for the two-mallet version.

Playing air hockey demands good hand-eye coordination and fast reflexes to implement offense and defense.

“When I was around 20 or 21, I went with a friend to play two-hand mallet air hockey and after 600 to 650 games, I beat him by two games because the store decided to remove the air hockey table. I stopped playing for 15 years and found the love and passion for the game again,” narrated Vallarino, adding, “I have done many sports in my life that include American football, softball, baseball, racquetball, tennis, swimming, squash and right now I’m in aikido, golf and air hockey, doing it constantly.”

“Aside from racquetball, I believe that air hockey is a very tiring sport that if you play even just for 10 minutes, you will be sweating right away and you need to control the breathing so you don’t get tired.”

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