Ever since the Philippines has joined the Olympics in 1924, they only won 9 medals, yes! ONLY 9 medals, 7 bronze, 2 silvers and no gold.
And even on the lower class level sports competition like the SEA games, we still suck, yes again, we suck big time. The team ended at 6th place from the 11 countries that participated.
The highest achievement for the Philippine team was the SEA games in Manila which they took home 91 gold and a total of 237 medals. Besides Basketball, the Philippine team is now being outmatched by its South East Asian neighbours.
And it seems basketball is the only sports highly promoted and endorsed in the country. Professional Basketball Players earn Millions, while athletes from Baseball, Athletics, Weightlifting etc only earns enough money for food and basic needs.
And just when the Filipinos are starting to turn to football as a source of sports entertainment and pride thru the Azkals, it has dashed all the hopes for international medal when its team finished at the bottom in the recent SEA games.
The Philippine Dragon Boat team was one of our hope, they won world competitions and applauded abroad. Besides from all the achievements they receive on the international competition, they were not sent by the country, because they are not recognized by the Philippine Sports Commission. !!!!
Surely it is not due to lack of budget alone. Something’s amiss.
Have we witnessed continuous recruitment?
Have we seen high-quality local and international competitions where our athletes would gain immeasurable exposure and training?
Have we heard of a national pride for being a national player?
In fact, is there such thing as “national player” in Philippine sports?
Is there a deep desire from the youngs to be part of the national pool?
Let us take for instance the case of basketball. Should not it be better if the succession goes like this: College Hoop, Amateur, Professional, National Team? (NCAA/UAAP, PBL/Devt’l League, Philippine Basketball Association or PBA, National Team)
The sad situation is that most of our basketball players are not looking at being part of the National Team as the highest honor a player could get. Their eyes are set to the PBA. Just take a quick scan at the new players now playing in the PBA, they all came from the highly-touted National Team. As if being part of the PBA is the end-all be-all for these players.
It is like, being a national player athlete is a stepping stone for the pro league or the showbiz industry, where the luxury of fame and fortune is.
Sad but true, that is what happens to most athletes. Remember Onyok Velasco? the Boxer who gave us a silver medal on the Atlanta Olympics, after boxing he became a comedian. Benjie Paras a basketball player, after retiring he became a comedian too.
Besides showbiz and the pro league, some athletes go to Politics, just like former Senator Sonny Jaworski.
Is there no national shame?
Where is the pride?
From whom should it come from?
Are we satisfied to be roused every now and then by the exploits of the likes of Paeng Nepomuceno, Manny Pacquiao and Bata Reyes?
Is there no such thing as Filipino sense of urgency in becoming excellent?
Why should the call for “nationalism in sports” come from a foreigner coach?
Why should a Serbian basketball mentor and an American football coach be the ones to point out that the Philippines needed a long-term sports program?
Perhaps the Philippines has been very much preoccupied with things that create division (showbiz, politics, religion).
Shall we wait to be united before we fix our sports program or could it be the time now to turn to sports and allow the sports to unite us?