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PSC chairman predicts 70 golds, targets 2nd place finish in SEA Games

Good for 70 gold medals and a spot from second to fourth places.

That’s how Philippine Sports Commission chairman Ritchie Garcia sees the Philippine campaign in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia.

Gold medals in basketball, taekwondo, boxing, billiards, shooting, track and field and several other medal-rich sports make Garcia’s projection possible.

He believes Indonesia, the host nation, will win the overall title.

“Because they’re the host, they have eliminated the disciplines they’re not capable of winning. Everything will work on their favor so I believe they will end up pulling away form the medal race and winning the crown,” said Garcia. “This means that the second to fourth places will be a tight battle, so we have a good chance ending up second.”

Chris Tiu, Greg Slaughter and Marcus Douthit will bolster the Philippine quintet in the sport the Philippines has dominated in the SEA Games. Since 1991, the only time the Philippines did not win the gold medal was in 2005, when FIBA suspended the country due to a leadership dispute.

Former world 9-Ball champion Francisco “Django” Bustamante and inaugural Women’s World 10-Ball champion Rubilen Amitit will spearhead the cue artists’ campaign in the billiards event while the legendary Efren “Bata” Reyes will play in carom. Other notable players in the lineup include veteran Warren Kiamco and Jeff de Luna.

Shooting will be bannered by veteran Tac Padilla and experienced marksman Emerito Concepcion.

Rey Saludar, a gold medalist in the 2010 Asian Games and the country’s flag bearer in the biennial meet, will spearhead the boxers’ campaign.

Track and field will rely on long jump queen Marestella Torres and long-distance runner Eduardo Buenavista while jins John Paul Lizardo, Eunice and Kristie Alora and Marlon Avenido, who were silver medalists in the Laos Games, will carry the fight for the taekwondo team.

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