Rep. William RAmirez
Philippine serious bet for overall title
Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) - November 23, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Sports Commission chairman and Phl chef de mission William Ramirez expressed optimism the home team has a fighting chance for the overall championship in the 30th Southeast Asian Games that unwraps in elaborate rites at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan on Nov. 30.

Ramirez mentioned a P1-billion worth of foreign exposure and the homecourt advantage as the biggest factors that could lead to the 1,085-strong Phl team topping the medal race in the 11-nation biennial meet.

The PSC chief also cited big victories of Filipino athletes in the world stage in the last few months that could well serve as morale boost and momentum for the home bets looking to mirror the Phl triumph at home front in 2005.

“The signs of the past months are very good. We’ve seen the victories of Caloy Yulo, EJ Obiena, Nesthy Petecio. May domino effect iyan sa mga bata,” said Ramirez, who also mention the gold-medal projection of the different national sports associations in recent consultative meetings.

“Forty-five of the 56 sports associations project a haul of 274 gold medals. Tinignan ko ang forecast nila, and it’s not impossible. Nung nakita ko yung projection nila, possible talaga,” said Ramirez. “In my own discerning, it’s No. 1 or No. 2. But to be conservative, I would make it top three (finish).”

Ramirez’ own forecast is “a high of the NSAs’ own projection and a low of more than 100 (gold medals).”

And that would be a big jump from the mere 24 that Team Phl won from the total of 406 gold medals staked in the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Games.

“But we went to KL with no P1-billion foreign exposure and no playing home area,” Ramirez stressed.

As the host team for the fourth time after the country’s previous hosting in 1981, 1991 and 2005, Team Phl is fielding 640 men and 445 women competing in 530 events.

In 2005, 892 Filipino athletes saw action and bagged 112 gold in 444 events to claim the overall championship.

 “Host tayo, so malaki ang chance natin to win. We have the foreign training, our athletes are not neophytes, and the signs of the past months are very good,” said Ramirez, insisting the home team has a good chance at repeating its 2005 victory.

WILLIAM RAMIREZ
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