Fresh mandate for Philippine squash

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - March 2, 2021 - 12:00am

Philippine Squash Academy (PSA) president Bob Bachmann yesterday presided in the organization’s annual general assembly that culminated with the election of a new Board of Trustees, certified by POC membership and accreditation commission chairman Atty. Billy Sumagui who observed the proceedings.

Voted to serve a four-year term up to 2024 were reelectionists Bachmann, Joey Mabilangan, Ichi Reyes, Jorenz Tanada and Sheree Gotuaco and new Board members Clem Apacible, Yoohoo Villanueva, Carlito Abanil and Sunny Lucero. There were 616 votes, including proxies, cast. Sumagui assured PSA of POC’s support and reaffirmed that Bachmann has “ably and actively” represented the NSA.

Bachmann said working together has been the key in pushing squash forward despite the pandemic. “We wouldn’t have been able to succeed without the support of PSC, POC, Manila Polo Club, MVP Sports Foundation, Nissan, Alaska and several individuals,” he said. “What drives me? It’s love and passion for the game. I hope to ensure growth, I’m working for the athletes and coaches and this is for love of country. My plans are to build a bigger membership base in the next four years, strengthen our national team, secure funding for overseas exposure and training, assure good governance and open our first-ever public National Squash Center at Rizal.” During the meeting, Bachmann reported on PSA’s financials and shared the SEC’s certificate of no derogatory information with BIR clearance and no unliquidated expenses.

Bachmann said squash is a sport where Filipinos can excel with proper support. “It’s fun, efficient and affordable, especially when the public courts open,” he said. Bachmann pointed out that in terms of exposure, events and activities from 2016 to 2020, PSA logged a total of 92 marks, unprecedented in local squash history. Top men’s player Robert Garcia reached No. 189 in the world and top women’s player Myca Aribado broke into the top 100 at No. 77.

Bachmann said PSA overachieved by setting records in the SEA Games. In 2017, the haul consisted of two silvers and six bronzes. In 2019, the Philippines pocketed its first-ever gold medal along with two silvers and two bronzes. At the SEA Cup in Bangkok early last year, the team called Kayod Pilipinas brought home two golds, a silver and two bronzes. The current national pool is made up of Garcia, Aribado, David Pelino, MacMac Begornia, Chris Buraga, Mel Aribado, Aysah Dalida, Van-aero Angelo Dalida, Jonathan Reyes, Lizette Reyes and New Zealand-based Matthew Lucente and Gabe Yam. Five of the players are 19 and under, indicating the progress of PSA’s youth program. Coaches are Jun Paganpan, Jaime Ortua, Edgar Balleber and New Zealand-based Manny Boy Yam.

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