Sports Eye

Another PH failure in SEA Games

Jess Garcia

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.

WATCHING the 28th Southeast Asia Games Singapore 2015 in the flesh was my first time to do it abroad. To minimize expenses, I and my son Jazy planned only on staying there for three days and three nights only to realize that our time was too short to watch all final events. We ended up missing the finals of boxing, football, and volleyball which were in our original agenda. It was only the 140-kilometer cycling road race and basketball skirmishes that we ended up watching. Unfortunately, our national men’s pedal pushers were beaten handily not landing in the podium for a medal. Our best finish was 15th by our province mate Ronald Oranza of Villasis.

The road battle was coursed on a flat trek loop at picturesque Marina Bay South Expressway. Our six-man squad was badly outsprinted in the final kilometer stretch won by Malaysian Saleh Harrif for the gold and his compatriot Manan Anuar for the bronze. Vietnamese Le Van Duan bagged the silver. Filipino diehard cycling enthusiasts like former professional cyclist Danny Ganigan of Binalonan, Alma Diaz of Dagupan City, Tom de Guzman of San Carlos City, Pangasinan, Nerissa Dadivas of Negros Occidental, Mr. and Mrs. Pat Porte of Vigan City and others were there at the start-finish area to cheer our nationals. I saw how our boys tried their best to win at least a medal by orchestrating numerous breakaways from the start up to the finish spearheaded by Rustom Lim, Oranza and Ronda Pilipinas champion Mark John Galedo, but they all ran out of air at the important final sprint. Maybe we can do better next year in Malaysia especially if the course will not be all flat but with mountains. For sure that will be a different story. Mountain terrains are the forte of our boys being veterans of the multi-stage Ronda Pilipinas.

Philippines landed sixth out of eleven countries with 29 gold, 36 silver and 66 bronze. PH was seventh overall in 2013 Sea Games hauling the same number of gold in 2013 but garnered two more silver and 28 bronze this time to improve one rank higher. Still it was a far cry to Thailand that topped the medal tally for the second consecutive time with 95 gold, 83 silver and 69 bronze. Surprisingly, the city-state Singapore which is only as big as Metro Manila landed a strong second with 84-73-102 medal harvest and Vietnam third with 73-53-60. We were blanked in cycling men’s division but not in the women’s category with Vigan City born Marella Salamat bagging the gold in the 30-kilometer individual-time-trial. Did we fail? Yes, because we did not land again in the top five, like we used to.

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My big congrats to the national football team of Guam for upsetting the national team of India in the Asian Football Championship qualifying round, 2-1, last week. I lived in Guam for more than ten years and it’s really awesome that a tiny-paradise island Guam which is a territory of U.S. with just 165,000 denizens will defeat the world’s second largest country India that has 1.2 billion inhabitants. It’s like David killing Goliath anew. In sports, nothing is impossible.

Of course, congratulations also to our Philippine Azkals team who defeated Bahrain earlier and blanked the oil-rich Yemen, 2-0, in the Asian zone qualifying held in Doha, Qatar last week. The Azkals third game will be against the group number one seed Uzbeks at home on September 8. Let’s pray for their next victory.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. 1 JOHN 5: 20

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