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Post-SEA Games, Sonny Angara hopes sports development becomes a priority



“We improved a notch from our previous ranking but placing sixth should not make us happy. We should aim higher. As a sports-loving nation, we should build on our showing in the SEA Games.”
– Senate committee on games, amusement and sports chairman Sonny Angara

Ten years ago, the Philippines was crowned as the overall champions of that year’s Southeast Asian Games. However, a decade later, the nationals placed sixth in the 2015 SEA Games held in Singapore with a disappointing 131-medal haul. It should be something that the government must look into according to a press release by Senator Sonny Angara.

Looking back to the last six SEA Games events, the country, once a major powerhouse in the region, has been left behind by our neighbors like Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, and the others:


*Possible Gold

The senator lauded the Philippine delegation’s top performers, record-setters and consistent medal winners who managed to bag 29** gold, 36 silver and 66 bronze medals. He, however, lamented the country’s low points in the competition especially swimming where the Philippines failed to win a single gold and where the poor showing of Filipino divers became viral on social media. “It’s devastating that even the head of the Philippine Aquatic Sports Association admitted that he was not surprised by the poor performance of our divers. We recognize that sports development in the country has been neglected for the past years given the national shortage of public sports centers. If you count the public swimming pools, there are less than 100 nationally, or a ratio of one for every one million,” he said.

With this, Angara, a champion for sports development in the country, has authored five bills establishing sports academies and training centers in Misamis Occidental, Davao del Norte, Siargao Island, Cavite and Cebu, which the Senate subsequently approved last week. “I believe establishing sports academies like these will jumpstart grassroots sports development all over the country. With these facilities, many young athletes could adequately prepare for a genuine career in sports, and hone their skills for local and international competitions,” he said.

Chairman of the Senate committee on games, amusement and sports, Sonny Angara (

Moreover, the senator is also proposing to establish a unified Philippine Amateur Sports Training Center that would shelter the 800 athletes and 300 coaches that represent the three stars and the sun. “Other countries have built their own national stadiums because they serve a civic purpose and as a matter of national pride. Singapore, a tiny nation, overtook us because it makes sports facilities a basic part of every housing or community development – the equivalent of our barangays having sports facilities,” he said.

In a research done by Angara’s staff, our budget for sports pales in comparison to the countries that ranked higher than us during the past SEA Games:


“We are hoping that sports development will be included in PNoy’s last state of the nation address. Any move to boost sports spending should not just be aimed at winning international competitions but in promoting wellness among our people,” he said.

Angara stressed that the promotion of exercise and an active lifestyle should be part of the country’s health program.

“We’ve heard of funds to combat smoking or allocations to cure many diseases. But sports as preventive medicine, hindi pa natin naririnig ‘yan. For the Filipino people, especially the youth, to get involved in sports, whether for health, competition or recreational purpose, government should provide the facilities for them,” he closed.

** The 29 golds the Nationals pocketed came from Athletics with five (Eric Cray – 100m & 400m hurdles, Christopher Ulboc Jr. – 3000m steeplechase, Caleb Stuart – hammer throw, Kayla Richardson – 100m), Boxing with five (Ian Clark Bautista – men’s flyweight, Mario Fernandez – men’s bantamweight, Junel Cantancio – men’s lightweight, Eumir Felix Marcial – men’s welterweight, Josie Gabuco – women’s light flyweight), Taekwondo with three (Dustin Jacob Mella, Rodolfo Reyes Jr., Raphael Enrico Mella – men’s poomsae team, Samuel Thomas Morrison – men’s 68kg, Pauline Louise Lopez – women’s 57kg), Billiards and Snooker with three (Dennis Orcollo – men’s 9-ball singles, Chezka Centeno – women’s 9-ball singles, Carlo Biado, Warren Kiamco – men’s 9-ball doubles), Softball with two (RP Blu Boys – men’s, RP Blu Girls – women’s), Triathlon with two (Nikko Bryan Huelgas – men’s, Maria Claire Adorna – women’s), Wushu (Daniel Parantac – taijijan), Tennis (Denise Dy, Treat Huey – mixed doubles), Sailing (Ridgely Balladares, Rommel Chavez, Richly Arquino Magsanay – men’s match racing keelboat), Shooting (Elvie Baldivino – women’s precision pistol), Gymnastics (Reyland Capelland – men’s floor), Judo (Kiyomi Watanabe – women’s 63kg), Rugby Sevens (Philippine Volcanoes – men’s), Basketball (Gilas Cadets – men’s), and Cycling (Maria Vania Salamat – women’s time trial).

  • KG08

    Hoping for these senior citizens sports officials to step down (the likes of Richie and Peping). Replace them w/ young leaders (ex. athletes w/ fresh mindset and vision)

  • Castronaut

    While we are requiring our national athletes to excel in competitions and bring honor to the country, they should also be adequately supported.

    • Janinskie

      A training center that is furnished with state-of-the-art training equipment, technology, facilities and modern amenities will definitely result to our athlete’s better performance in the Olympics and other national and international competitions.

  • monicabriones88

    Maybe it’s time the Philippines should construct a new training center para mas ma-enhance ang kanilang mga talent and skills.

  • bonghamado

    The state of sports development in the country has been neglected for the past years as shown by these rundown sports facilities

  • inalorenzo91

    Dapat talagang mabigyang prayoridad ang pagpapagawa ng mga sport centers sa ganoon ang mga atleta natin ay mas lalong gumaling.

  • ekaj_03

    Sen. Angara is right. But with our government not really keen in providing adequate funds for our sports program, it will be hard for our athletes to compete on a much higher level. Sana mas mabigyan pa ng malaking prayoridad ang sports sa bansa. We need the government to work with our private sectors to make a big improvements not just on our facilities but also with the programs.


Joshua Munzon, Westsports snap Saigon’s streak in highly emotional contest



Photo by ASEAN Basketball League

Entering Wednesday night’s game, Mikey Williams and the Saigon Heat were on a high, slaying the winning streaks of Hong Kong Eastern and Nanhai Kung Fu. However, Joshua Munzon and the Westsports Malaysia Dragons had other things in mind, keeping the Heat winless at the MABA Stadium, 91-87.

In his fourth game since returning to the Dragons, Munzon filled up the stat sheet, tallying 18 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks.

Besides putting up the numbers, the athletic swingman from California helped limit reigning Heritage Player of the Week Williams to his worst game so far in the ABL. Averaging 27.33 points, 6.67 assists, and 6.0 rebounds prior to this game, Williams went field goal-less against the Dragons, missing all 11 of his attempts. The Filipino-American floor general was able to dish out eight assists and grab five caroms.

Westsports led by as much as 11 points in the final frame, 82-71, after Munzon found Marcus Marshall for a triple with 4:59 remaining. Behind World Imports Akeem Scott and Maxie Esho, the Heat stormed right back but was answered by a long bomb by Munzon to keep them at bay.

Marshall and Scott figured in a shootout to close out the game but in the end, the hosts were still able to etch out their second straight victory.

Marshall finished the game with 25 points, nine assists and six rebounds for the Dragons while Scott’s 44-point game went for naught.

After the emotionally charged contest though, few unkind words were exchanged by the officials of both squads that almost resulted into a brawl. Fortunately, things did not escalate beyond that.

In the video, Munzon was also seen shoving a Saigon player to try and pacify the situation. The league is currently investigating the post-game incident.

With the win, Westsports Malaysia raised its record to 3-4 while dropping Saigon to 4-3.

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Mixed Martial Arts

Edward Kelly honored to fight alongside brother Eric



Eric and Edward Kelly lived under the same roof for years in their hometown of Baguio City when they were young and shared the same burning passion in martial arts.

Growing up in the small town community of San Tomas Central, located within the city limits of Baguio, Eric and Edward did not always get along with one another as the two fought all the time, sometimes even resulting in injury.

“We were not that close before. We always fought. In short, Eric and I were headaches to our parents,” Edward recalled in jest.

“But of course, things change when you grow up and mature. We now appreciate each other’s company.”

Fortunately, when the brothers entered high school, Eric discovered martial arts, and everything would change for both of them.

Edward paid attention to the growing accolades of his older brother and was heavily motivated by it.

“I noticed after he started martial arts that it taught him the discipline not to fight me as a brother. Instead, he started giving me advice through what he had learned,” he bared. “I also joined martial arts because it teaches you discipline, and a lot of other positives, too.”

Years later, both men have made remarkable runs as outstanding martial artists in their respective professional careers.

Eric is widely regarded as one of the best homegrown martial arts athletes to come out of the Philippines.

A Wushu practitioner who combines solid striking techniques with high-level grappling skills, Eric owns nine scintillating submissions and one knockout out of 12 total career victories.

Eric’s most impressive showing to date came in a submission win over Rob Lisita in July 2014, a performance that earned him the USD 50,000 ONE Warrior Bonus.

Meanwhile, Edward is considered as one of the best and brightest featherweight prospects to emerge from the well-established martial arts scene in the Philippines.

With a complete striking and grappling skill set, Edward brings Team Lakay’s world-renowned Wushu to center stage as he showcases his impeccable skillset inside the ONE Championship cage.

In addition, the younger Kelly has won three of his last four bouts under the ONE Championship banner, all by spectacular finish.

The Kelly brothers get a rare chance on Friday, January 26 as the siblings will compete side-by-side when ONE Championship holds its first of the four scheduled events in the country for 2018.

Eric squares off with Brazilian standout Rafael Nunes on the undercard of ONE: Global Superheroes, while Edward crosses paths with Cambodia’s Meas Meul in a three-round featherweight clash.

It is the first time both of them will be featured at a ONE Championship event together, and Edward plans to make it a night they will never forget.

“I am so excited because finally, it’s going to happen. It marks the first time that I will compete alongside my older brother. Surely, it’s going to be a memorable night for the both of us,” he said.

“We have the same aim of winning. So making it two for two on this card will make this extra special.”

As Eric seeks to get back on the winning track at the expense of Nunes, Edward is likewise looking to move forward in his career after getting his three-bout winning streak snapped by American stalwart Emilio Urrutia in August 2017.

In his next cage outing, Edward goes up against Meul, a undefeated promotional newcomer with six wins to his credit.

“My coaches has prepared me well for this. I am not going to disappoint my team and my country when I enter that cage on 26th of January,” Edward assured. “I don’t want to let my countrymen down this time. I am here to give them a great bout.

“And of course, win the bout in impressive fashion for them.”

Edward has no qualms if he has to go full three rounds with Meul, but he admitted that his sights are always set on securing the finish.

“I am looking to dominate him for three rounds. But hopefully, I can get the finish,” he vowed.

“A finish will be the perfect way to tell the world that I am back.”

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Roger Pogoy churns best performance against former teammates



Prior to Wednesday, all eyes were on the TNT Katropa-Blackwater Elite face-off, with many curious to see how last season’s Rookie of the Year Roger Pogoy would fare against his former FEU teammates Mac Belo and Raymar Jose.

And as the final buzzer sounded, the 25-year-old Pogoy had reigned triumphant over his close pals, getting away with a conference-best performance as a bonus.

The six-foot-two Cebuano sniper fired a game-high 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting, along with eight rebounds, three assists, and two steals, to lead the Texters to a skid-ending, 92-83 victory at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

“Must-win talaga namin ‘to para makabawi kami, kasi 1-2 na yung standing namin (before the game) eh.

“Buti na lang maganda yung nilaro ko,” said Pogoy, who was just averaging 11.3 points in the past three games.

But Pogoy tipped his hat to the much taller Elite, who enjoyed plenty of time in the driver’s seat in the first half, until the Katropa found their groove in the third canto — highlighted by a 16-3 rally that put them ahead, 60-53.

“Malakas yung Blackwater eh, tapos ang lalaki nila kaya mahirap mag-drive, mahirap pumasa kasi naagaw nila,” said Pogoy. “Buti na lang naka-adjust kami nung second half. Hindi kami nagmadali, dinahan-dahan namin.”

Aside from his own outing, Pogoy is thankful that they were able to address their fourth quarter woes when facing the Elite — the issue that hounded them in their 76-88 loss to the San Miguel Beermen last Saturday in Iloilo.

TNT had actually been mere steps away from melting down — again — against Blackwater, no thanks to a 20-9 run that wiped out their 17-point lead to just six,

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With Nash Racela knowing his tendencies, Mac Belo limited to poor shooting



Prior to Wednesday, Blackwater Elite’s young star Mac Belo was on a roll early in the 2018 Philippine Cup, averaging exactly 20 points on 42.6 percent shooting in their games against Meralco, Rain or Shine, and Ginebra.

But, as they say, good things must come to an end.

Belo, despite having 13 rebounds, was held to just nine points on 4-of-18 shooting as the Elite bowed to TNT Katropa, 92-83 — a sour loss knowing that they’re coming off huge 94-77 win against Ginebra last Friday.

“Bukol,” said Belo in jest of his poor outing after the match. “Big test para sa’min kasi yung TNT talagang isang de-kalibreng team dito sa PBA.

“Talagang pinaghandaan nila kami, at gustong-gusto nila manalo.”

It also did not help that the Katropa’s head coach, Nash Racela, was his coach in FEU Tamaraws for three years — a relationship brightly highlighted by a championship run in the UAAP Season 78 back in 2015.

“Siyempre alam niya yung mga tendencies ko. Matagal ko siyang coach sa FEU,” said the 6-foot-4 forward.

“Sa akin naman, kailangan ko pa matuto sa ganun, kung anong mga defense binabato niya sakin. Kailangan ko pang pag-aralan.”

But for Belo, the loss was more than his own showing. The 25-year-old lamented his and the Elite’s lapses on defense, which was encapsulated by the second half collapse they had that allowed TNT to come back and steal the win.

“Medyo marami lang kaming lapses especially sa defense namin,” said the sophomore forward, as they allowed TNT to shoot 41.6 percent from the floor. “Maraming mga miscommunication na kailangan pa namin i-work.”

Belo and the Elite are now set to move on from this bitter defeat, as they all shift their sights in their match this Friday versus GlobalPort Batang Pier. For the Gilas Pilipinas stalwart, it is already a must-win for them.

“Kailangan namin ng rest ngayon kasi back-to-back games kami. We need to win sa Friday para okay sa’min,” said Belo. “Kailangan din namin paghandaan kasi galing sila sa win.

“Kailangan namin i-double yung effort namin.”

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