As PSC commissioner, Mon Fernandez shifts attention from basketball to medal-rich sports
PSC commissioner Mon Fernandez wants LGUs to focus their talent search on sports where Filipinos can stand out internationally. Jaime Campos

DESPITE being a four-time PBA MVP, MBA commissioner, and Purefoods playing-coach, Ramon Fernandez said looking for the ‘next best thing’ in Philippine basketball is no longer his priority.

Fernandez is more focused on looking for potential athletes outside basketball in his current role as Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) commissioner.

The PBA legend, who once trained a young June Mar Fajardo in Cebu, said looking for fresh basketball talent no longer interests him since a lot of sectors are already doing their part for the country's No. 1 past time.

“Hindi naman sa ayaw ko na sa basketball pero let’s face it, the national team is already supported by MVP (Manny V. Pangilinan) and the SBP (Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas) is taking care of it. The schools are also taking care of it,” said Fernandez.

With the private sector already into basketball, Fernandez said his aim now is to convince local government units (LGUs) to focus on less-popular sports where the country can shine internationally.

“In fact, sinabi ko sa mga directional meetings namin na kayong mga LGUs na kung konti ang pera, dun kayo sa Olympic sports, medal-rich sports, or sports na may weight category,” said Fernandez.

One of the sports where Fernandez believes Filipinos have potential is open water swimming, an Olympic event which he recently witnessed in his home province of Southern Leyte.

“Marami tayong isla na 10 kilometers ang distance. Like a few days ago, may nag-swim from Limasawa Island to mainland Southern Leyte. He swam for 10.3 kilometers because it’s the anniversary of the first mass in Limasawa (March 21, 1521),” Fernandez said.

Fernandez plans to hold more open swimming events in the future in the run-up to the 500th year anniversary of the first mass in Limasawa.

“I’m trying to promote that kasi ang kailangan lang dito, isla at shorts, tapos langoy lang,” said Fernandez.

Aside from looking at the potential of open water swimming, Fernandez has also talked with shooting officials in Cebu and recently visited national judo athlete Kiyomi Watanabe in Tokyo.

“I’m looking for other sports kasi lumawak na ang responsibility natin,” said Fernandez.

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