PHL national team deteriorating?

By May 21, 2023Sports Eye

By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.


THE talk of the town last week in sports was the 32nd Southeast Asia Games (SEAG) hosted by Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It concluded last Wednesday (May 17) with defending champion Vietnam convincingly retained its overall supremacy in the biennial meet, harvesting 136 gold medals, 105 silvers and 114 bronzes. Our Philippines 840-strong contingent this year despite surpassing its medal haul in Hanoi, Vietnam (52 gold medals, 70 silvers, 105 bronzes) two years ago could only land fifth overall, this time 58 gold medals, 85 silvers, 117 bronzes, but failing to retain its fourth place position and instead landed fifth overall behind Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and host Cambodia. Obviously, the performance of our national athletes undoubtedly improved but not good enough to attain higher standing. The team found itself pushed back one-rung lower in the overall standing among the eleven nations that participated.

Our best consolation – when our “Gilas” basketball team recaptured the hoop event avenging their defeat to Indonesia, 85-81, held in Hanoi, Vietnam two year ago but finally eliminated Indonesia, 84-76, in the semis knockout game. Yes, their loss to Indonesia two years ago was their first and the only silver medal finish of our Philippines quintet since SEAG was born in 1959 held in Bangkok, Thailand. In fact, surprisingly Gilas also lost to Cambodia this year, during the elimination round but eventually won back the lost gold medal by conquering the import laden-group Cambodia, 80-69. And although basketball is undoubtedly our number one favorite sport, as proven also by our national women’s squad two years ago in Hanoi when the Gilas belles routed the Indonesians two years ago in Hanoi, 93-77.  Unfortunately, we lost in the female version against Indonesia this time, 89-68. And yes, our big credit also to our gymnast the current world champion Carlos Yulo who snared two gold medals in the men’s artistic all-around and parallel bars, his forte. Also, as expected, 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz topped her weight division weightlifting event as well as 2020 Olympic silver medalist Carlo Paalam in boxing winning his weight category while world’s pole vault third ranked EJ Obiena dominated his event in record fashion. These four Filipino world class athletes I believe are our medal hopes in the coming 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

Fundamentally, we improved our medal harvest but it was only good for fifth place despite our medal harvest improvement. This is simply tells us that our neighbor countries are fast improving than us. Remember, we used to be the overall champion in 2005 and 2019, and we landed a poor fourth in 2021. From bad to worse, we’re now on the fifth spot overall. Yes, I know our nationals did their best but not good enough to be on the top three that we used to be. Being a former athlete myself, I believe there’s something big wrong regarding our sports development program, nowadays. It’s a long explanation.

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My big congratulations to the top ten winners of the First Pangasinan 4th District Cycling Challenge held last May 14. The 95-kilometer bikefest exclusively for Pangasinenses that started and ended in San Fabian, via Fourth District towns/city and sponsored by Mangaldan Vice Mayor Dr. Mark Stephen De Venecia-Mejia backed by with San Fabian Mayor Marilyn Agbayani. The two executives flagged off the 60 contestants and also awarded trophies, medals and cash prizes. The winners were: 1. Adan James Mendoza (San Manuel) 2. El Joshua Carino (Mangaldan) 3. Jhonrey Duccat (San Manuel) 4. Warren Bordeos (Laoac) 5. Dennis Cabaldon (San Manuel) 6. Bonjoe Martin (Villasis) 7. Kenneth Maramba (Dagupan City) 8. Jeffrey Garay (Bugallon) 9. Ramraj Carreon (Manaoag) 10. Marco Salvador (San Manuel).

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” ROMANS 3:23

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