The Philippines Must Invest More In Sports
Wins for Team Philippines
Hours ago, the Gilas Pilipinas team just defeated Chinese Taipei B, 96-67, to bag the silver medal at the 37th William Jones Cup in Taiwan. Two days ago, they defeated a much taller USA Select-Overtake club, 78-74. Iran claimed the gold medal.
Two days ago, the Perlas Pilipinas squad downed India, 82-76, in the ongoing 2015 FIBA Asia Women’s Championship in Wuhan, China. Not only they have earned fifth place in the competition, but also a ticket to compete in the elite Level I competition of the upcoming FIBA Asia Women’s Championship. They have ruled Level II with a 5-1 record, and their win over India promoted them to Level I. They will face Japan, China, South Korea, Chinese Taipei, and North Korea two years from now.
Last week, the Azkals trounced Maldives, 2-0, in an international friendly at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, Metro Manila. This coming Tuesday, they will slug it out against Uzbekistan in a World Cup qualifier. It’s high time a South East Asian country make it to the World Cup, starting at the 2018 edition that will be held in Russia.
Great news for a country that’s reeling off from straight nights of bad news (dominated by political corruption and crime) and negative vibes (the huge traffic caused by a local religious group’s protest rally). Sports victories are more important news than beauty competition wins, if you ask me.
Philippine sports must advance
But is the Philippines, both its people and its government, are paying attention to sports? I doubt it.
Many Filipinos are still hooked on basketball and boxing, and are not ready to move beyond the two B’s. Soccer, volleyball, and triathlon are emerging sports and even get media coverage, but I’d love to see more of us excelling in baseball, softball, wushu, taekwondo, gymnastics, swimming, track and field, tennis, bowling, dance sports, rugby, archery, and chess. It’s also time we Filipinos carve a name for ourselves in badminton, water polo, equestrian, cycling, fencing, futsal, field hockey, netball, and even in the winter and beach sports, like ice hockey, curling, and beach volleyball.
Politicians and celebrities should not only show up at basketball games or boxing matches, but also at the other sports competitions here and abroad. If they can attend a Manny Pacquiao fight in Las Vegas along with their families, constituents, and mistresses, why not attend the other sports competed by athletes unknown by the public and not financially well-off like Pacquiao? The overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are more supportive of our athletes, and even Filipinos with foreign spouses encourage their children to compete for Team Philippines.
These politicians are assholes, I tell you. It’s time we divert their salaries for the construction of skating rings, bowling complexes, gyms, swimming pools, dojos, and stadiums, along with affordable housing for the deserving and hard-working poor, science laboratories, libraries, and parks. About celebrities, well, it’s obvious they are just Pacquiao fans, not boxing fans. They are fans of popular sportspeople, not of sports, not of teams. I don’t care if they love being in Pacquiao’s limelight as long as they invest in sports programs.
Local businesses should field teams in professional sports leagues. I’m looking at you, Jollibee, Mang Inasal, Chowking, Andok’s, Julie’s Bakeshop, Red Ribbons, Goldilocks, Globe, TM, Sun Cellular, SM Malls, Rustan’s, Shopwise, Ayala, Universal Robina, Caltex, Palawan Express, Rose Pharmacy, Mercury Drug, Hotel Sogo, Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, MX3, International Pharmaceutical, United Network of Opportunities (UNO), Alliance in Motion Global (AIM Global), Summit Media, ABS-CBN, GMA 7, National Bookstore, etc.
Schools should abolish acquaintance parties and Junior-Senior proms to give way to more intraschool sports competitions, aside from intramurals. Students should pursue sports as after-school activities, alongside science, humanities, languages, and literature, and not mall-hopping, bar-hopping, or romance.
Religious groups should pursue sports as part of their mission and character-building and nation-building activities. Sports should be regular affairs, not just as fund-raising initiatives.
Media should broadcast and report more sports, other than entertainment news and showbiz intrigues. Enough of soaps with predictable plots. Government should mandate TV stations to broadcast – in real time – competitions which our national teams take part.
The Philippines should prove itself to the world that it is not only a country of singers and beauty queens, but also of sports-minded people. More focus on sports, and it will only day earn an Olympic gold and even top 3 finish at the SEA Games and Asian Games.