WITH our numbers, there is a good chance we will win the overall crown in the Manila SEA Games from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.
That’s not me talking, but William “Butch” Ramirez.
“Let us not forget the fact that our athletes have also trained hard in competitions here and abroad,” said Ramirez, who is chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
The PSC, in case you’ve forgotten, is the government agency that finances practically all the needs of Filipino athletes under the Philippine Olympic Committee—from their training here to their plane fares, hotel accommodations and food budget abroad, including pocket money.
If we go by Ramirez’s track record, he might yet hit his prediction of the Philippines scoring a stunning win in the 30th edition of the biennial meet among 11 nations in the region.
For, wasn’t he the same guy who was our chief of mission when the Philippines was overall champion in the 2005 SEA Games that we also hosted?
Yes, we finished a lowly sixth in the 2017 SEA Games won by—you guessed it right—host Malaysia.
It is almost a given that the host has a virtual lock on the overall trophy of every SEA Games since its birth in 1977.
Before we won as host in 2005, we missed winning it by a single gold—the marathon gilt—in the 1991 Manila edition.
The numbers that Ramirez was citing are the 1,250 or so Filipinos being fielded to the Games’ 530-plus events in 57 sports spread over 53 venues mainly found in Clark, Bulacan and Metro Manila.
To further sweeten our chances of overall victory, 16 new, gold-laden games are being added in the calendar including arnis, jujitsu, chess, billiards and team sports like e-sports.
Don’t be surprised if dama, luksong tinik and, yes, tumbang preso will also make it to the Games calendar.
To the uninitiated, every host country has the built-in advantage of introducing events it ethnically plays, even if most of its rival neighbors do not play such disciplines.
The SEA Games is the only one in the universe that has that unique set-up. Thus, no way we could lose? We’ll see.