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Should they stay or should they go?

PH chef de mission says SBP still has time to reconsider decision on Asian Games pullout
By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 05:01 AM August 01, 2018

Philippine chef de mission Richard Gomez. Photo by June Navarro

Fans have voiced their displeasure over social media. Several sports personalities have also spoken against the decision of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) to pull out the national team from the Asian Games. It’s the turn of the country’s chef de mission to the Asiad to chime in with a message of hope.

There’s still time for a change of heart.

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“Let’s wait and see,” said Richard Gomez during Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association forum backed by Tapa King and Pagcor at the tennis lounge of Rizal Memorial Sports Center. “Maybe we’ll know in the coming days.”

“We have a lot of players who are in excellent shape all year round,” added the fencing president.

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The mayor of Ormoc City added there’s still time for the SBP to come up with a competitive team since the deadline for finalizing the Philippine delegation is on Aug. 9 during the delegation registration meeting in Jakarta.

The Games will run from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2.

“Technically, we can still send a team. Our men’s basketball squad is already accredited. This is our No. 1 sport. Win or lose, Filipinos will watch it,” said Gomez.

The SBP announced it was pulling out of the Asian Games to focus on qualifying for the 2019 Fiba World Cup instead.

“It’s sad for Philippine basketball fans that we don’t have a team in the Asian Games,” said Gomez. “The Asian Games is just as important as the World Cup or even the SEA Games. The fact remains that we have a team to represent the country.”

Gomez said if the SBP remains adamant with its withdrawal, the Philippine Olympic Committee would face sanctions from the Olympic Council of Asia.

Sources said the POC would be asked to pay $20,000 for the pullout. It could be the first time that the Philippines won’t be sending a team in men’s basketball since the 2006 Doha edition when the country was suspended by the International Basketball Federation (Fiba).

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Sources said the POC can send a team of its choice to the Asian Games as a last resort.

Weightlifting gold

Meanwhile, weightlifting coach Tony Agustin is confident that the long wait for a gold medal in the Asian Games will finally end after nearly seven decades of futility.

“This is our biggest chance to end it. Our lifters are very competitive and have been winning medals in the international meet lately,” said Agustin in Filipino.

Opening the door for the Filipinos to figure prominently in the global scene was Hidilyn Diaz, the weightlifting heroine who captured a silver medal in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Joining the three-time Olympian in chasing the top podium positioning in the Asiad are Asian Indoor Games bronze medalist Kristel Macrohon and fellow Rio Olympian Nestor Colonia.

Salvador Del Rosario got a silver in the 1970 Games in Bangkok after Pedro Del Mundo, Rodolfo Caparas and Rodrigo Del Rosario won the same medal color in 1954. Rodrigo first bagged a silver during the 1951 Games.

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TAGS: ASIAD, Asian Games, Samahang Basketbol Ng Pilipinas (SBP)
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