MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Sports Commission is not about to scratch former world No. 1 Dennis Orcollo and fellow billiards stars Yves Ranola and Rubilen Amit from the national team.
"We will observe status quo," said PSC chairman Richie Garcia amid a planned revamp of the national team by Billiards Sports Confederation of the Philippines (BSCP) chief Bong Ilagan.
Garcia said the PSC, the government’s funding arm in sports, will look deeper on why the BSCP wants a revamp of the team that has consistently brought honors to the country.
Ilagan wrote the PSC last Dec. 26 informing the agency of his decision to replace the members of the 2012 national pool with a new set of players.
Among those who are expected to be affected by the revamp are Orcollo, the reigning SEA Games champion in 8-ball, and Ranola, SEA Games champion in 8-ball and 9-ball.
Amit is also a multiple gold medalist in the SEA Games.
"But these are gold medalists. These are champions. And we cannot just drop them from the list of our priority athletes," said Garcia after presiding over a PSC board meeting yesterday.
"Why is the BSCP ordering a revamp? We have nothing personal on this but our stand is we cannot just drop players from the national team. We have invested so much in them," said Garcia.
Ilagan said the BSCP has recruited a new set of "young and talented players" to form part of the 2013 pool, noting the fact how these players have beaten some members of the "old national team."
The PSC chairman said he will sit down with Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose "Peping" Cojuangco tomorrow to look into the matter.
"We have to look at it seriously. What is the reason behind the revamp? We want to know the reason. Billiards is one of the priority sports of the government," he said.
For the meantime, the PSC will have to honor the present lineup, and give the athletes all the benefits and allowances they deserve.
In fact, the PSC said it has recently approved a foreign trip for Orcollo and three others, who are among a select group of cue artists invited to play in a tournament in Colombia.
Ilagan said in his letter to the PSC that the new set of players will be submitted to the PSC along with the BSCP’s planned budget for 2013.
But since he has not submitted any list as of yesterday, the PSC yesterday decided to observe a status quo until the matter is taken up and cleared with the POC.
The PSC only lends its support to NSAs and athletes duly recognized by the POC.