Critics blasted

November 27, 2019
Ramon Suzara
SUZARA: Hitting back at detractors.

The Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc) has lashed out at critics and said the complaints that came aplenty in the days leading up to the opening of the 30th SEA Games are already a thing of the past.

In a press conference at the World Trade Center yesterday, Phisgoc chief operating officer Ramon Suzara told mediamen that they had a chef de mission meeting where problems that hounded the sporting showpiece since last weekend have been threshed out.

“We tackled all the issues and complaints and requests of the chefs de mission. We have solved everything,” said Suzara, who was joined in the presser by Philippine Olympic Committee president  Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino.

In other developments:

—The Philippine women’s polo team lost to favored Singapore, 9-18, at the New Clark City Aquatics Center as its bid to do better in this edition of the biennial meet got stymied by the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games silver medalist.

—The Gilas Pilipinas men’s basketball team lost one player as gunner RR Pogoy  hurt his back in the closing seconds of Talk ‘N Text’s PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinal game against Magnolia on Sunday, which was later diagnosed as severe back spasm.

—The management of Whitewoods Convention and Leisure Hotel denied it served ‘kikiam’ to the athletes and officials, an issue that went viral on social media the other day.

—Albay Representative Joey Salceda (Second District, Albay) hit back at critics of the SEA Games and Phisgoc, saying “they will eat their own words” once the meet officially kicks off in glittering rites this Saturday.

Suzara, the top pointman of Phisgoc chairman and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano in the organizing committee, lashed out at the negative reports over issues in transportation, practice venues, traffic and food that were on everyone’s lips in the last few days.     

“Sad to say, kapwa natin Pilipino ang naninira sa hosting natin instead of uniting everyone to make this. It doesn’t look good. I think we want to put to rest on this that’s why we had a chef de mission meeting,” Suzara told sportswriters.

“This is very normal. There are a lot of adjustments before the opening ceremony. Not only here. Even in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Maraming games na wait  two, three hours at the airport,” he added.

The Phisgoc official later asked sportswriters to visit the other venues, which he described as “beautiful”.

According to Gilas coach Tim Cone, Pogoy was advised to take a rest for at least two weeks, forcing him to skip the SEA Games competitions which start on Dec. 4 at the Mall of Asia Arena with the Filipinos taking on Singapore in their debut.

“The prognosis is he (Pogoy) will need a couple of weeks before he can return to the court. That unfortunately will eliminate him from the Gilas lineup,” said Cone yesterday.

The multi-titled coach said Pogoy is a big loss to the team, saying the TNT forward is one of Gilas’ best shooters and two-way players who is “difficult to replace”.

As of yesterday, the coaching staff and the Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas have yet to decide on who’ll replace Pogoy for the tournament where the Filipinos will be gunning for their 18th gold medal in 20 tries since 1977.

The women’s polo squad  gave Singapore some uneasy moments, even taking a 3-2 lead at the end of the first quarter. Then the hosts started to struggle while allowing the enemy to score six goals each in the second and fourth periods to clinch the win.

The other day, the PH men’s polo side did a lot better, salvaging a 6-6 draw against title favorite Indonesia.

In a letter to Team PH chef de mission Butch Ramirez, Whitewoods president and chairman Edgardo Capulong said the food that was served to the athletes was not ‘kikiam’ but chicken sausage.

“We have proofs of this and the Phisgoc food audit team in the hotel that are on top of the food inspection during, before, and after cooking and during meal time, can attest to the fact that it was not ‘kikiam,” Capulong said in the letter.