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Sports wishes for Christmas

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“IT’S that time of year when good friends are near,” says The Jackson Five’s classic Christmas carol, and you can’t help but wish for good tidings with gifts, food and love all around.

It doesn’t matter whether one receives a bagful of goodies or just one special gift. It’s the spirit and the message of that first Christmas in the manger that count.

Christmas, after all, is about hope as well, and Philippine sports is not exempt from wishing for better things.

Yesterday, our colleagues in the Lifestyle section shared their hopes for changes in a variety of facets. We list a few here that we hope to see in the coming sports year. We hope it’s not a list of resolutions that will easily dissolve when life’s realities kick in but wishes that are as simple as that of a child perched on Santa’s knee.

* * *

In 2013, we hope for:

More sports, less politics. Every year we pray that our sports leaders and community engage in less turf guarding or personal consensus building.

Our sports rivals in the region are whipping us with better training techniques and more efficient sports management models. We need to buckle down to business if sports is to matter and contribute to the national morale.

More international wins. We look forward to the comeback of Manny Pacquiao and for his final push toward the end of an unforgettable career.

Pacquiao should be given that hero’s opportunity to end his career in triumph and not in the aftermath of his loss to Juan Manuel Marquez.

We wish for a fruitful 2013 for Nonito Donaire Jr., Brian Villoria and other Filipino boxers. The road to boxing glory is never easy and froth with pain and disappointment. But we have the warriors who can wage triumph for us.

We hope that the Philippine Azkals can finally break through into the finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup and succeed in other tournaments to continue the rebirth of the sport in the country.

Football is the world’s most popular sport and doing well in it boosts our international prestige no end.

In basketball, the 2013 Fiba Asia Men’s Championship will offer three slots for the 2014 World Championships in Spain. We look forward to winning one of those slots not because we will conquer in the world tournament but because we will again participate as we did in the 1970s.

Participation reaffirms our stature as a basketball power in Asia.

A return to the top three in the Southeast Asian Games. Regardless of how distant times, measures and performances are from Asian Games or Olympic standards, the SEA Games are a reflection of the state of Philippine sports.

There is nothing wrong about the media or the nation considering a first-place overall finish in the gold-medal count as the barometer of success. However, given the difficulties we face and the tenacity of our rivals to succeed as well, we should set reasonable goals as we mend our own sports fences.

A return to the higher echelons of the medal finish race might be more realistic and feasible.

May most of your wishes come true this Christmas as you hug those around you and count the blessings you received this 2012.


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