RICHARD Gomez is aiming to achieve something perhaps no Filipino athlete has ever done: make the national team in four different sports.
The actor-sportsman is part of the men’s volleyball national pool currently in the thick of workouts cum tryouts as the Philippines gets ready for the PLDT Home Fibr Asian Men’s Club Championship which the country will be hosting from April 8 to 16.
If he succeeds in landing a place in the final lineup, Gomez will be in a national team in a fourth sport, having previously represented the country in fencing, shooting, and rowing competitions overseas including the Southeast Asian Games.
Gomez, who played volleyball during his younger days, said he is dead-serious in clinching a place in the national team as he religiously attends practices of the men’s pool.
“Masaya ‘yung training,” said Gomez when Spin.ph caught up with him during the team’s practice at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum on Monday. “Nakakapagod pero we really have to prepare well kasi ang kalaban namin, malalakas.”
The Philippines is bracketed with Iraq, Kuwait, and Mongolia in Group A of the 18-nation tournament.
While the team is busy preparing for the tournament, Gomez, if he makes it to the final lineup, is realistic about the chances of the Philippine team as they are going up against the best in Asia.
“Siguro, we will do our best. That is the best thing I can say. We are training hard, hindi ko rin masasabi na, ‘Oo, kaya namin.’ We just have to do our best,” said Gomez.
The movie star said the coaching staff led by Francis Vicente remained tightlipped on who will make the cut.
“We will see. Hindi natin alam. Up to now, secret pa nila,” Gomez said.
With the men’s game still lagging behind the women’s in terms of popularity, Gomez, having played during the inaugural men's tournament of the Superliga, will actually perfect for an ‘ambassador’ role for the sport.
But Gomez, once an advisor for sports under the administration of former president Joseph Estrada, said there is no longer a need for such, saying the Philippine Volleyball Federation is doing its best to lift the sport beginning with the formation of a competitive national team.
“Actually, volleyball naman is already popular. It is number two in terms of popularity. ‘Yung volleyball association naman is doing something in terms of forming a competitive team sa region. It is also a welcome development na may effort sila to put up a team,” Gomez said.
“If the team places well in Asian volleyball, may chance tayo na masama sa Asian Games. Next year, may SEA Games kaya hopefully, magtuloy-tuloy ang programa,” he added.