THE Philippine sepak takraw team has a busy calendar in its bid to claim the title in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Aiming for no less than the gold medal in the SEAG, the 2016 world champions will begin their journey to success by competing in the coming Arafura Games in Darwin, Australia on April 26-May 4 where the toughest teams are anticipated to show up.
“The key is to expose our players to as many overseas tournaments as we can for them to gain more experience against a variety of opponents,” said Pilipinas Sepak Takraw Association Inc. president Karen Tanchanco-Caballero.
Go For Gold godfather Jeremy Go committed to fully support to sepak takraw’s buildup for the 11-nation Games ser Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 to be held in the cities of Clark, Subic and several venues in Metro Manila.
Right after their campaign in the Arafura meet, the men’s and women’s squads will set up camp in South Korea and Thailand for a few months before joining several leagues in Thailand to polish their skills.
They brought home a silver and three bronze medals from the 2018 King’s Cup Sepak Takraw World Championships held in Nakhon Rachasima, Thailand where the toughest sepak performers from 31 countries suited up.
Caballero bared that they had tapped new athletes purely for exposure, but the team still came up with good results.
“With more games and tournaments coming up, they are really bound to improve in time for the SEA Games,” said Go, also the vice president for marketing of Powerball Marketing and Logistics Corporation, the company behind the Go For Gold project.
Aside from sepak takraw, Go For Gold is also a staunch supporter of the national teams of cycling, wrestling, dragonboat, triathlon and skateboarding.
Seasoned players Rheyjey Ortouste, Ronsited Gabayeron, Emmanuel Escote led the men’s team along with Joshua Gleen Bullo, Alvin Pangan, John Carlo Lee and John John Bobier.
Joining the squad backed by Go For Gold and the Philippine Sports Commission are John Jeffrey Morcillos, Joeart Jumawan, Nestleer Bandivas, Christian George Encabo and Regie Reznan Pabriga.
Forming the women’s squad are Mary Melody Taming, Abegail Sinogbuhan, Gelyn Evora, Josefina Maat, Jean Marie Sucalit, Jea Mae Pepito, Jocielle Fernandez, Aisa Sabellita, Allyssa Bandoy and Lhaina Lheil Mangubat.