Limpag: Will we see a sports facility at SRP?

THE athletes who need it weren’t born yet when then Cebu City Sports Commission chairman Jonathan Guardo raised the idea of having a sports facility at the South Road Properties. That was 2004 and Dondon Hontiveros, who has revived the plan, was still in his third PBA season with San Miguel as a 24-year-old point guard.

Since then, Guardo and Mayor Tomas Osmeña had falling out but eventually settled their differences. That’s how long the City has been planning for such facility. In fact, it seems in every new Cebu City council, such plan gets revisited only to be mothballed or get overlooked.

I think some in the private sector got tired of all the talking that eventually decided to put up his own facility--the artificial football pitch being put up by Dynamic Herb Sports Inc., which is now on its finishing stages.

Though skeptical at first, I think Hontiveros has a better than even chance in making his dream come true. First, he is allied with the Cebu City Mayor who is also allied with majority of the senators and of course, the biggest fish in the country.

Such alliances may be needed when the former Hot Shot will be looking for funds for his proposed multi-discipline sports facility, which is something Cebu City needed two decades ago.

Another thing that counts in Dondon’s favor is Mayor Edgar Labella is a health buff who walks almost daily at the Cebu City Sports Center and knows the value of such facility. He knows how over-utilized it is and how many people from all sports discipline use it.

Then, of course there’s the Philippine Sports Commission link. With fellow Cebuano legend Ramon Fernandez at the PSC, sourcing for funds may yet again not be a problem for his plan.

I think the only thing that will stand in his way will be politics and the reach of the former mayor Tomas Osmeña. We all know that when it comes to the SRP, for Osmeña it’s his way or the courts, judging by how he scuttled a previous agreement by his predecessor with a consortium.

I don’t care whether who is in the right, I just hope that the sports facility won’t be collateral damage in that battle.

Just take a look at baseball and softball in Cebu. Both are dying sports yet we continue to produce players who excel at the national level. Since there is no active organization that can look out for them, baseball and softball players are left to play in the fringes. Unlike football, which has the Central Visayas Football Association and has regular tournaments at the CCSC, there’s none for batted sports.

But even the CVFA has to take the backseat, when other events take over the CCSC—running, concerts heck throw in a political rally.

So yes, a new facility is what we really need and it won’t be just the athletes who need a place to train that will benefit. Everyone who has been into sports or any outdoor activity will directly or indirectly benefit. Directly by being able to use it and indirectly by having a not-so-crowded CCSC.

So, will we ever see this facility put up? I sure hope so.


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