SEA Games: PH has strong chance for 3rd overall, says POC chief

Dennis Gasgonia, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 18 2022 03:10 AM | Updated as of May 22 2022 09:14 PM

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Philippine Olympic Committee President and Cavite Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino believes the Philippines will be able to finish third overall in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.

He said that realistically speaking, the Philippines is bound to lose the overall championship given the number of athletes they were able to field into the competition.

"Na-slash kasi 'yung number of athletes natin from 1,000 plus to half kaya don't expect much," said Tolentino in an interview on Pasada sa Teleradyo.

The Philippines were able to field 1,115 to 56 sports when it hosted the biennial event in 2019, winning 149 gold, 117 silver and 121 bronze for a total of 387 medals.

In the Hanoi SEA Games, however, the country was only able to send 641 athletes to compete in 38 sports.

As of posting time, the Philippines won 31 gold, 35 silver and 44 bronze medals in Hanoi.

"So Number 3... Kailangang pang madagdagan, dahil nasa likod natin ng Indonesia. Ang Thailand naman ang layo ng lamang sa atin," he said.

Host country Vietnam is leading the medal tally with 91 gold, 57 silver and 57 bronze medals.

"Sa billiards siguradong may gold tayo, sa wrestling, tennis nandyan pa si Alex Eala. May basketball, marami pang boxing, may swimming pa, may taekwondo. Marami pa tayong inaasahan," said Tolentino.

He added that as host, Vietnam has cerntain advantages over visiting countries.

"Hindi na natin inaasahanan ang first dahil sa host na po yon. Mabigat kalabanin ang host dahil marami silang mga bagong ginawa tulad ng inallow nilang 2 entry on some martial arts, pero sa atin isa lang. Lugi na tayo roon. Kanya kanyang style na 'yun, tulad ng mga larong 'di natin alam inilagay nila, inalis naman nila yung alam natin." said Tolentino.

He also lamented the fate of the Philippine bodybuilding team which was barred from competition due to technicality.

"'Yung reason (ng officials) hindi katanggap tanggap. Nandito na (Hanoi) e, tinanggap na ang mga pangalan, pumayag ng kundisyon ko na pwede namang idoping ng before, during and after. 'Pag napatunayan na positive at nagmedalya ang atleta, e bawiin ang medal," he said. "Muntik ko na ngang paglaruin kahit walang medal."

Meanwhile, Tolentino said the medal winning Pinoy athletes will surely be rewarded upon their return home.

The PSC is expected to shell out at least P18 million in cash bonuses as provided for by the law under Republic Act 10699.

"Definitely the Office of the President will be preparing for celebration and awarding. Nasa batas naman 'yun," he said.