Asiad: What a difference a gold makes
The statement was short, straight, sincere:
“Apologies to all,” said Manny V. Pangilinan, chair emeritus of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), ruling basketball body in the country.
That promptly put to rest the issue on whether the Philippines would still reconsider sending a basketball team to the Asian Games in Jakarta, slated Aug. 18 to Sept. 2.
Ed Picson, Philippine Olympic Committee spokesperson, said the withdrawal letter has already been sent to Indonesia.
There had been miscues, misinterpretations, buck-passing. Pangilinan, popularly known as MVP, quietly owned up to the whole mess.
The Philippines pulled out because it could not assemble a competitive outfit following the suspension of at least 10 Gilas national team members by the Fiba.
It’s onward to the Asiad, the Philippine contingent now headed by new Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas, a vital cog in the MVP conglomerate.
The Philippines finished with a lone gold medal in the Asian Games 2014.
Cyclist Daniel Caluag, who won the BMX gold medal in Incheon four years ago, will be back to defend his title.
Vargas has been quoted as saying they would shoot to improve on the 22nd overall Philippine finish in Incheon.
Actor Richard Gomez, Philippine chef de mission, said the Philippines will be all out to surpass the petty lone gold.
Gomez, president of the Philippine Fencing Association, said Philippine athletes from combat sports like jiujitsu, taekwondo, judo, boxing, have high probability of landing the gold.
Anyway, unlike in past Asiad campaigns, where boxers were the usual hopes for medals, there has been zero publicity about the preparations of national boxing team.
Picson, also the executive director of the Alliance of Boxing Associations of the Philippines (Abap) was asked on the chances of the boxers.
“As I have said before, we will not send anyone who doesn’t have a chance of winning,” Picson said.
He did not name a standout medal bet, but explained that Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam have been doing well in training and in competitions abroad.
The Philippines is fielding eight boxers to the Asiad, six males and two females.
As things stand, one gold medal could make a difference for the Philippines in the Indonesia Asian Games.
“It will be really painful if we won’t land a single gold,” said chef de mission Gomez.
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