Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Philippines is aiming to go against their own lackluster history in football during the South East Asian (SEA) Games and leave their mark on the region.
Despite the senior men's team being one of the better sides from the region on the international stage, the U-23 team has floundered in all the editions of the SEA Games.
Filipinos have yet to cop even a bronze medal in the biennial meet since the country started participating in the games in 1977.
In the latest edition of the SEA Games the Philippines was a step behind their opponents again, conceding 11 goals in just four games and losing all of their matches.
For the 2017 edition of the games the Philippines is fielding a more battle-hardened side, after subjecting their players through tough preparations.
The young Filipinos participated in the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-23 Championship qualifiers in Cambodia, where they went toe-to-toe against Asian powerhouses Japan and China.
The Philippines didn't get a win from the tournament, but it was the experience playing at such a high level of competition that could prove valuable in the SEA Games.
"I believe that this experience has given us a lot to learn from," Philippine striker Jarvey Gayoso told CNN Philippines. "The lessons from these games have improved our mentality and our relationships on the field."
The players themselves know that they have a lot to prove in a tough group in Malaysia, but they are eager to face the challenge head on.
"I think it is always better to have the underdog story," Gayoso admitted. "I like the challenge of destroying that expectation that people have of us."
The Philippines opens its campaign against Cambodia on August 15.
Women striving for the podium
Philippine chef de mission Cynthia Carrion-Norton provided CNN Philippines with a list of promised gold medals from the various National Sporting Associations (NSA) ahead of the games.
Scanning through the various sports, football has committed to provide at least one gold medal to the Philippine cause.
When asked to confirm which team committed the gold medal, Carrion-Norton said it was the women's team.
The Philippine women's team has played and won together at the various youth levels and in the senior level.
The most recent success for the women's side is securing their qualification for the 2018 AFC Women's Asian Cup last April.
The women's team strung together a run of impressive results at the qualification tournament, humbling the United Arab Emirates 4-0, Iraq 4-0, and hosts Tajikistan 8-0.
The Filipinas also spent time in Japan to further sharpen themselves for the SEA Games.
"Our Japan camp gives us good experience, especially on the high pace and level of game against strong first division women's teams in Japan," Women's team head coach Let Dimzon told CNN Philippines.
But despite the promise of a gold from their NSA, Dimzon gave a more conservative outlook.
"It will be very ambitious to say na makakakuha natin ang gold," Dimzon said. "We will try to get into a place."
The Philippine women's football team begin their medal hunt against Malaysia on August 15.