WIN the overall championship and do the best Southeast Asian Games hosting job ever.
Both are considered doable as the country’s top sports officials rallied the Filipino athletes to achieve the feat when the Philippines hosts the region’s biggest sports showcase from November 30 to December 11.
Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) chairman Allan Peter Cayetano joined Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez, and Philippine chef de mission Monsour Del Rosario in pushing athletes and officials alike to aim for the top.
“Kung ano ang ating itatanim, yan ang ating aanihin. If you put in the hardwork, if you’re disciplined, if you’re committed, you will be on top of the competition,” said Cayetano Tuesday night during the GoPilipinasGo pep rally held at the Rizal Memorial baseball field.
Around 700 athletes representing various sports, 250 coaches, and 450 guests including NCRPO Regional Director Guillermo Eleazar, graced the three-hour affair aimed at drumbeating the country’s fourth hosting of the SEA Games and the bid to win the overall title for the second time.
Also present were PSC commissioners Ramon Fernandez, Celia Kiram, Charles Maxey, and Arnold Agustin, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) board members Jonne Go (canoe kayak), Cynthia Carrion (gymnastics), and Julian Camacho (wushu), PHISGOC Chief Operating Officer Tats Suzara, Larong Volleyball Pilipinas Inc. (LVPI) President Peter Cayco, Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) executive director Sonny Barrios, deputy chef de mission Charlie Ho and Olympian Stephen Fernandez, among others.
Ramirez, Cayetano, Del Rosario, Go, and PHILSPADA president Mike Barredo later went on stage to lead the symbolic release of white doves.
It was during his short speech that Cayetano, the former senator and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) secretary, compelled those in attendance to reach for their goal.
“Our objectives are two. No. 1 dapat tayong manalo, and we know we have to work harder to give you whatever you need in training and competition,” he said.
“Secondly, we want the 10 other countries to leave and to say na iba talaga mag-host ang mga Pinoy. Iba talaga ang Pilipinas kapag sila ang host.”
Athletes representing the years when the country hosted the SEA Games also took the stage to give out short, inspirational messages – bowling icon Bong Coo for 1981, Fernandez for 1991, and wushu’s Willy Wang for 2005.
“Ang overall championship ang katapat ay pawis. Sana makuha natin ito ulit,” said Wang, who was part of Team Philippines that won the SEA Games overall title for the first and only time in 2005.
The event ended with a mini concert provided by Silver Box and the popular This Band.