THE Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) is hoping the Filipino athletes will again “Win as One” in the coming 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam on Nov. 21-Dec. 2.
To achieve such goal, the PSC and the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) plan to adopt the same successful formula which the country used in winning the overall championship in Manila in 2019
“We will do our best again in the coming SEA Games. We have shown that we can do it with teamwork and win the overall championship. We don’t really have to change the formula on how we did it in 2019. Let’s win as one again,”said Fernandez during the “Usapang Sports on Air” by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) via Zoom yesterday.
Fernandez, who was appointed as Team Philippines chef de mission only the other day, said he will follow the blueprint for success used by PSC Chairman and Manila SEA Games chef de mission William “Butch” Ramirez in 2019.
“I learned a lot from Chairman Ramirez in the last SEA Games where he was the chef de mission. All four of us (commissioners) also assisted him during the last SEA Games.”
Fernandez admitted that his appointment by the POC as chef de mission is a new challenge for him.
“I know it would be a challenging mission considering that we are the champions the last time. It would be doubly challenging since we are still in a pandemic,” added Fernandez during the weekly public service program sponsored by the PSC, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and Games and Amusements Board (GAB).
Fernandez thanked POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino and the POC Executive Board for his appointment.
“I thanked POC president Bambol Tolentino and POC Executive Board for the trust and confidence given to me,” said the 67-year-old sports offiical from Maasin, Leyte.
Asked about the preparation of the athletes for the SEA Games, Fernandez said he will sit down with the POC and the national sports associations soon to discuss the matter.
“It’s still touch and go, really. Without the vaccine, I feel that it’s very hard to prepare our athletes the normal way of preparing them for such a big international competition. But we will do our best.
Fernandez expects full support to the Filipino athletes.
“I’m pretty sure that the POC, the NSAs, PAGCOR and our friends in Congress — both Senate and the House — are very supportive of our sports program,” explained Fernandez.
“In the last SEA Games, we have already shown that team work can really do it not just because it’s our homecourt. Budget and preparation are the key. This is about the athletes and not about the officials running them. If we can come together and support our athletes, we can do it again.”
A four-time PBA MVP, Fernandez said setting up the training of athletes would depend on the availability of a coronavirus vaccine.
“I’m still hoping that by May or June, our athletes have already been vaccinated for them to resume the kind of training that they normally do,’’ said Fernandez.
Fernandez also reported that the Filipino athletes remain positive despite the pandemic.
“Based on our conversations and meetings with the athletes, they are in very high spirit. They’re keeping themselves fit and ready. They’re all very excited, especially thosewho are going in the bubble to train and even those who are training in other places.”
“Nakikita naman nila na talagang 100 percent ang suporta sa kanila ni President Duterte at lahat sa government. Normal na ulit yun support, including allowances. Sayang nga lang nawala sa ngayon yun billeting nila sa Rizal Memorial Sports Complex at Philsports in Pasig, pati na sa Baguio dahil nga sa pandemic,” explained Fernandez.