THE Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) named basketball legend and now baseball federation president Joaquin “Chito” Loyzaga as chef de mission of Team Philippines to the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia next year.
POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino also appointed sambo association head Paolo Tancontian and canoe-kayak head coach and international technical official Leonora “Len” Escollante as Loyzaga’s deputies in the May 5 to 16 SEA Games.
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“Their handling of their respective NSAs [national sports associations] and their management skills make them deserving of the posts,” said Tolentino, who also announced over the weekend that Cambodia is hosting 608 events with the Philippines expected to compete in all 49 sports in the program.
“I want to express my appreciation to POC President Bambol for his trust and confidence in me to be the head of the Philippine delegation for Cambodia SEA Games,” said Loyzaga, 64, a former commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission and currently president of the Philippine Amateur Baseball Association.
“It’s a big challenge for the Philippines to perform well, as well as the other countries, because of the number of sports favoring the host country,” said Loyzaga, who was deputy CDM in the 2010 Asian Beach Games. “It will be very challenging.”
Escollante was surprised of the appointment but readily accepted the responsibility.
“I thank the POC for the trust, and rest assured, I’ll do my best to deliver with excellence,” said Escollante, a member of the national team that last won a SEA Games women’s volleyball gold medal in Singapore 2003. “It’s a privilege so I will be doing my best to carry out my task.”
“This is another milestone in my career. I couldn't be more grateful to the God Almighty and to the people who believes in me,” said Tancontian, president of the Philippine Sambo Federation. “With the trust and responsibility vested in me, I am genuinely grateful. I accept this challenge with humility and determination.”
Loyzaga and his deputies will officially exercise their functions after the POC General Assembly on Sept. 28.