Selection of seasoned cyclists carry fight for PH in SEAG
Ronald Oranza and Jan Paul Morales of the Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance cycling squad are looking to bring their accomplishments in the Ronda Pilipinas to the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
“We have to work as a team if we want to win this,” said Morales in Filipino, the Philippine Navy skipper who ruled the multistage bikathon twice and the anchor of their dominance in the Ronda.
They were handpicked by PhilCycling under Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino to pedal hard for the gold medal in four road race events during the 11-nation Games in Tagaytay City on Dec. 1 to 10.
Joining Oranza and Morales are Navy-Standard Insurance teammates El Joshua Cariño, Junrey Navarra, George Oconer and John Mark Camingao.
These riders will be on the starting line of the massed start individual and team races aside from the individual time and team time trials.
“It’s hard to predict because anything can happen on race day itself,” said Oranza in Filipino, the 2018 Ronda champion.
According to Oranza, they have to watch out for the challenge that Malaysian and Indonesian riders will offer.
Apart from the four road events for men, there are nine more cycling races in BMX (3), mountain bike (2) and four events in the women’s division where Filipino riders can win a gold medal.
Meanwhile, Philippine Sports Commission Chair Butch Ramirez said next year’s government funding for the national sports associations would hinge entirely on their performance during the Games.
“We will focus our support to those athletes and NSAs that can perform well in the SEA Games,” said Ramirez, the Team Philippines chef de mission.
The Games fire off in less than six weeks and Team Philippines is looking to duplicate its 2005 feat when it won the overall title.