THE country is indebted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for lending its soldier athletes to the country’s cause in the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chair William Ramirez stressed the importance of the military’s helping hand by allowing its enlisted personnel who are part of the national team like Olympic weightlifting gold medalist Hidilyn F. Diaz of Air Force to represent the country.
Tokyo Games boxing bronze winner Eumir Felix D. Marcial of Air Force, muay world champion Philip Delarmino, hurdler Clinton Bautista, pug Ian Clark Bautista and cagebelle Marizze Andrea Cabinbin of Navy and two more lady ballers Janine Pontejos and France Mae Cabinbin of Army have all chipped in mints.
Their concerted efforts helped the country edge Singapore for No. 4 with a 52-gold, 70-silver and 104-bronze harvest as against the latter’s 47-46-71 haul in the biennial meet.
“We thanked the AFP for these athletes. The contributions of the AFP proved vital to our success in the SEA Games,” said Mr. Ramirez. “The AFP has been very supportive not only in our SEA Games campaign, but every time we carry our flag in international competitions.”
Military-athletes also grabbed 11 silver and 16 bronze medals from Hanoi with rowers Cris Nievarez (Army) and Joanie Delgaco (Navy) contributing at least two medals each along with WGM Janelle Frayna (Air Force) in chess.
Other silver winners were decathlete Aries Toledo, boxer Irish Magno, Grandmaster Darwin Laylo of chess, Russel Misal of table tennis, Jeson Patrombon (tennis) and wrestlers Alvin Lobreguito, Ronil Tubog and Jhonny Morte.
Chipping in bronzes were Sonny Wagdos and Jelly Dianne Paralige of athletics, boxer Riza Pasuit, rowers Roque Abala and Nicanor Jasmin, sepak takraw’s Jason Huerte and Rheyjey Ortouste, beach volleyball’s Alnakran Abdilla, Jovelyn Gonzaga and wrestlers Jason Balabal and Noel Norada.
It was the best finish by the Filipinos in the meet outside of the Philippines since winding up second overall in the 1983 Singapore tilt.
And it was because of the patriotism displayed by the brave 117 men and women in uniform. — Joey Villar