Will Digong dig in for PH sports?

RODRIGO Duterte’s transition from a tough-talking mayor to a sobering President will be abrupt.

He will have to move with the speed of light from pop stardom with the masses to the humbling task of nation-building.


Thus, Duterte’s trusted aides are losing the brio of victory and pooling their collective expertise and experience to form the template for his administration.

The presumptive President-elect himself will have to clean up the dregs of his persona on the campaign trail: the profane comments, jokes about rape and infidelity and the outrageous plan to stamp out criminality.


He will have to connect, preferably through sports, with the youth he seemed to be leading to hell on his way to becoming the country’s 16th President in one of the most closely watched and emotionally charged national elections in recent memory.

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So what sort of a President will Digong Duterte be when it comes to sports? Even the media man who has his ear does not have a clue.

“I don’t know. I haven’t talked to him about sports,” said my friend, Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo.

Government and sports have had polarities during the terms of previous Presidents, including the outgoing one. But there is a ray of hope that the athletic disciplines will finally get a fair deal during Duterte’s six-year term.

William “Butch” Ramirez, the former Chair of the Philippine Sports Commission, is a trusted member of Digong’s inner circle. Veteran sports scribe and former North Cotabato Gov. Manny Piñol was one of the early pillars of his run for the presidency.

Duterte’s candor is a large part of his appeal with the voters, who gave him a plurality of at least 5 million votes in the recent polls.

During the campaign, Duterte dropped hints about his sports intentions. He added his voice to the clamor for a Department of Sports to draw sports maladies and their cures closer to the attention of the sitting Chief Executive.


In an interview with the sports website spin.ph, Duterte showed he was on the ball when it comes to a slow sports development program. “Walang masyadong focusing. Napag-iiwanan na tayo (There is no focus, that’s why we are being left behind.)

“Sports is something that will build the muscle of the nation. Sports instills discipline. It is part of growing a paradigm [shift] for young women or real men,” the incoming Coach-in-Chief told spin.ph.

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The Golden State Warriors, led by Stephen Curry, the repeat NBA most valuable player, will have a few days to rest and tend to their injuries. The Warriors closed out their series with the Portland Trailblazers with a 125-121 victory last Thursday.

While awaiting the result of the Oklahoma Thunder-San Antonio Spurs matchup, the reigning NBA champions will tend to Andrew Bogut who limped out of Thursday’s game in the first half; Draymond Green who needed a re-wrap of his hurting left ankle and Curry who is still recovering from a sprained right knee.

The Warriors and the Miami Heat are the NBA teams that appeal most to countless Filipino fans.

The Heat, coached by Filipino-American Erik Spoelstra, will need to regroup after losing to the Toronto Raptors, 91-99, also Thursday. The Raptors lead the Eastern semifinals, 3-2, over the Heat.

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