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SEA Games

The burden on the Philippine’s Southeast Games campaign to extricate itself from the hole its predecessors dug in the past three editions of the biennial conclave looks to fall on the shoulders of 21 past individual winners who made it anew to the national contingent that will carry the national flag to the coming 29thstaging of the Games next month in Kuala Lumpur.

Filipino-American sprinter Eric Shaun Cray, whose triumphant runs in the 100 and 400 meters events in athletics two years ago in Singapore he is hoped repeat, will be leading the 498-athlete national contingent to at least a fifth place overall finish in the meet among the region’s best and finest athlete set August 19-31.

No less than chair Tom Carrasco of the joint Philippine Olympic Committee-Philippine Sports Commission SEA Games Task Force and chef de mission Cynthia Carrion had boldly predicted a better finish for the country this year.

Better than the 7th  overall wind up in 2011 and 6th in 2013 and 2015

Year 2015 fastest woman, Fil-Am Kayla Richardson, like her athletics teammate Cray, also landed in the list of multi-medal winners and although her second ware –a silver – was not as glittery as a gold – but she, too, is expected to be at the forefront of the Filipino athletes’ quest for fame and glory.

And so are wushu ace Daniel Parantac, tennister Dennise Dy, Ridgely Balladares in sailing, pool artist Carlo Biado and gymnast Reyland Capellan. Parantac ruled the men’s taijan event in his discipline besides adding a silver to his collections.

The same goes to Dy, a gold medallist in the mixed doubles in tennis, Balladares in the three-man keelboat match race by the sea, Biado in the two-man team men’s 9-ball and Capellan in the men’s floor exercise, who are, likewise, capable translating their additional silver winnings to gold.

This, according to Carrasco, who  is also the president of the Triathlon Association of the Philippines, and Ms. Carrion, his counterpart in the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines, can very well make up for the loss four gold medals the country suffered due to the scraping of women’s boxing and weightlifting as well  the men’s and women’s softball.

Gold medal harvest fashioned out by Ma. Claire Adorna and Nikko Bryan Huelgas in triathlon, Fil-Japanese Kiyomi Watanabe in Judo, Elvie Baldomino in shooting and Chezka Centeno and Dennis Orcollo  in billiards and snooker are also expected to do well to the Philippine campaign.

Add, likewise,  the championship performances of Ian Clark Bautista, Mario Fernandez and Eumir Felix Marcial in boxing, Marella Salamat in cycling, Enrico Mella and Rodolfo Reyes Jr. in poomsae and Samuel Thomas Harper Morrison, also in taekwondo and, indeed, hopes look brighter this time for the Philippines to end up at least fifth overall.

“We’re also traditionally strong in men’s basketball so, we might as well add  the gold medal we expect to win this sport considered our national  pastime,” Carrasco said.

“And we still have the rugby seven event where we are also the defending champion. “Marami naman talaga tayong mapagkukunan ng panalo,” he added.

“Our athletes are well-prepared and ready. They’re committed to do their best and bring honor to our country. Let’s pray for them,” Ms. Carrion, for her part said.

By EDDIE G. ALINEA