IT’S all or nothing for the Philippines when it plays hosts to the 30th Southeast Asian Games in November.
“I want no less than the overall championship,” said Deputy House Speaker Mikee Romero during Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at the Amelie Hotel Manila.
The 47-year-old congressman, sports patron and polo athlete rolled into one said because it’s been done before, it can be done again.
The Philippines will host the SEA Games for the fourth time after 1981, 1991 and 2005. And if the trend continues, the next time the country hosts the biennial event would be after 10 or 12 years.
“It’s a long cycle that’s why we need to make the most out of this hosting. Let’s win the overall title,” Romero said. “We just have to replicate what we did in 2005. Something less will not be at par with what we achieved 14 years ago.”
“We must win the overall crown or we will fall short of 2005. That’s why I am challenging our sports leaders. It’s championship or bust,” Romero told the weekly forum presented by San Miguel Corp., Braska Restaurant, Amelie Hotel and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
Joining the second-term party-list representative were the ladies tasked to run the polo competitions in the coming SEA Games—technical operations Manager Bubbles Bermudez, deputy venue Manager Julia Lastrilla and competition Manager Camila Lastrilla, as well as Erik Arejola, GlobalPort governor in the Philippine Basketball Association.
Romero is neck-deep into basketball but has dipped his hands into shooting, volleyball, baseball, cycling and now polo. He expects the Philippines to win the SEA Games gold in men’s basketball.
“The gold in basketball is a must. At the level of our professional players, the Southeast Asian players are not at par. This is the gold that matters most to us,” Romero said.
When the SEA Games is staged from November 30 to December 11, the owner of the GlobalPort team will compete in polo. He said of the two gold medals to be disputed by the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and Indonesia, the hosts will be happy to win one gold and one silver.
“Of course the target is to sweep the golds. But the more realistic goal is a gold and a silver. It’s more achievable,” he said.
The Philippine polo team includes Gus Aguirre, Tommy Bitong, Jay de Jesus, Jam Eusebio, Anthony Filamor, Coco Garcia, Santi Juban, Ed Lopez, Marty Romualdez, Tonio Veloso and Noel Vecinal.
As a group, they will undergo intense training from October 27 to November 12 in Argentina, which Romero described as the “mecca of polo.”