For one of the biggest private sponsors of the country’s sports programs, the performance of Team Philippines in the recently-concluded Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia is far from satisfactory.
MVP Sports Foundation spent P10-million for Filipino athletes’ SEA Games campaigns, bankrolling teams basketball, boxing, badminton, football, taekwondo, cycling, and tennis. The respective national sports associations of these disciplines are being sponsored by companies controlled by Manuel V. Pangilinan through the foundation, which he chairs.
“We’re satisfied with the gold medal haul of our sports, but definitely dissatisfied with the entire Philippine contingent’s sixth-place finish,” said MVP Sports executive director Chot Reyes.
Sinag Pilipinas, the men’s basketball team coached by Norman Black and backstopped by top amateur cagers led by Chris Tiu, Kiefer Ravena, Ray Parks, and Greg Slaughter, came away undefeated for a gold medal finish to extend the country’s dominance in the sport for the 20th year. Discovery Perlas Pilipinas, the women’s team, ended up with a silver after a controversial overtime loss to Thailand.
Taekwondo and boxing produced the most gold medals for the country, with four each. Jins Japoy Lizardo, Kristie Alora, and Camille Manalo won gold medals, as did the poomsae trio of Rani Ann Ortega, Francesca Camille Alarilla and Ma. Carla Janice Lagman. The taekwondo team also came away with three silvers and five bronzes.
Boxers Alice Aparri, Josie Gabuco, Charly Suarez, and Dennis Galvan all ruled their events, while Nesthy Petecio (silver) and Rey Saludad (bronze) also came home with medals.
Cycling produced two gold medals courtesy of veteran campaigner Alfie Catalan and rookie John Mier, apart from four silvers and seven bronzes.
The mixed doubles pair of Denise Dy and Treat Huey capped what was a frustrating campaign for the tennis team, which narrowly lost in several events. Tennis also produced two silvers and three bronzes
The Philippines went home with a total haul of 36 gold, 56 silver and 77 bronze medals, its worst finish in the Games in ten years.
Among the most disappointing finishes involved the much-hyped Under-23 national men’s football team, which only won one game out of five, finishing tenth in the 11-team competition.
Despite tempered expectations, Reyes expressed surprise by just how badly the Under-23 Azkals performed.
“We know how far we are from our SEA neighbors, I just didn’t think we would lose that badly,” said Reyes. “So we met right away with PFF president Nonong Araneta and Coach Michael Weiss last Tuesday to address Philippine football’s grassroots development.”
InterAKTV is part of InterAksyon.com, the news portal of TV5, which is chaired by Pangilinan.