Freeman Cebu Business

Wishin’ and hopin’

SPORT EYE - Raffy T. Uytiepo - The Freeman

It’s almost the end of January and I’ve not made my predictions for the New Year.  Anyway, here’s one, the 2017 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games will be staged in Kuala Lumpur on August 19-31 and we’re looking forward to improving our sixth place finish in Singapore.  I couldn’t forget that I was in the hot seat when I criticized our practice of recruiting Fil-Ams during international competitions.  I said then that we might as well scrap our grassroots program (do we have one?).  We train our local athletes  only to be left behind before games and this is only the Seag.  If you recall, we  were better off during the Gintong Alay days of Michael Keon.  We discovered the likes of Lydia De Vega.  Elma Muros, Linda Lavandia, Renato Del Prado and Renato Unso.  We also competed in  more prestigious events like the Asian Games where we battle powerhouse Japan, China, Korea and India.  In the Myanmar Sea Games, we even dropped to our worst showing of seventh place.  Imagine,  we were beaten by teams like Singapore (less than 6 million population), Vietnam and oh yes, Myanmar.  Well, actually the host country always have the advantage by manipulating the sports calendar for their own benefits.  Going back to Myanmar, in 2013, tennis and gymnastics were scrapped but it included kenpo, vovinam and chilone (I don’t even know what these sports are).  In 2011 in Indonesia, wall climbing, roller sport, bridge and hold your breath, paragliding.  Of course we didn’t have entries.  In Singapore, weightlifting was junked.  So it’s the same story in Kuala Lumpur.  Malaysian organizers have excluded women’s boxing  and two weight divisions in men’s boxing thus throwing away potential gold medals courtesy of RIO Olympian Charly Suarez  and 2015 welterweight gold medalist  Eumir Marcial.  They even attempted to scrap triathlon, fencing, judo and marathon “Ni tiabaw si Tom Carrasco of triathlon   and  Philip Juico of PATAFA”).   So they reinstated the events. Wel, let’s wait until 2019 when we get the chance to give those countries a dose of their own medicine.  In a previous column I suggested to include “pancit eating”.

Ilonggos rule

I’ve been accused several times of being biased to my “kababayans”.  But I always  come up with data to back my claim that Iloilo and Bacolod runners are the best in the country.  My protégé’ Herman Suizo proved that when he became the best placed Filipino marathoner in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, placing 51st in a field of 116  of the world’s best runners.  Other notable Ilonggo runners are three-time Milo champion and two-time Boston Marathon veteran Jimmy Dela Torre.  Dela Torre was also the 1981  Sea Games Marathon  and 1987 Penang Marathon champion.  Other Ilonggo Milo Marathon champions Include Vertek Buenavista, Paquito Rizalde, Rey Antoque, Rene Herrera, Julius Sermona and Jeson Agravante.  Buenavista  who hails from Iloilo City but currently residing in South Cotabato owns the national record of 2:18:44, still unbroken until today.  Suizo used to be the record holder (2:19:50)

Did you know?

•Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Bruce Jenner) 1976 Olympics decathlon champion keeps her gold medal in the bathroom nail drawer.  She sometimes place it around her neck while looking at the mirror.  In April last year, Jenner returned to Tracktown USA, in Eugene, Oregon and walked on the same tracks where she used to train before competing in Montreal.

•Charles Gitonga maina

In the movie “The Air Up There” Charles Gitonga Maina became Kevin Bacon’s co-star.  In the film, Maina played Saleh, a 6’9” African recruited by Bacon to play college basketball.  Ilo Mutombo (Dikembe’s older brother) played Mainas’ on-court adversary while Nigel Miguel , a former UCLA stand out  who had appeared in “White Men Can’t Jump”, played Maina’s older brother.  The film’s technical adviser was former NBA MVP Bob Mc Adoo.  Sad to say however, Maina never made it to the NBA.  He’s now 42 years old and hangs out in bars regularly.  “Palahubog na?”. 


•Big thanks to super-businessman Bunny Pages who gave me a collector’s item book “Elvis”.  Bunny recently opened a Hawaian-themed restaurant at IT Park called Shaka.  Elvisaya will soon perform there with tunes from “Blue Hawaii, including “Rock a –Hula Baby” and “Can’t Help Falling In Love”.

•Special greetings to Kisse Velez and Lesley Navarro.

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