Take it from former national volleyball player and Senator Pia Cayetano – the Philippines made an “amazing decision” to host the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games this year as it gave national athletes the chance to shine in their own country before their fellow Filipinos.
The senator has often been seen watching the games from the audience stands, cheering for Filipino athletes in various sports competitions, including football, gymnastics, and recently, tennis, where she watched the Filipino duo of Francis Niño Alcantara and Jeson Patrombon overwhelm their Indonesian counterparts in the men’s doubles quarterfinals on Thursday.
(Note: Alcantara and Patrombon would eventually win the gold medal in the all-Filipino men’s doubles finals which pitted them against the tandem of Treat Huey and Ruben Gonzales, Jr.)
“I am really making an effort to go to as many [SEA Games events] as I can. I have known Niño [Alcantara] since he was a teenager [and when] he wasn’t even in college yet,” shared Cayetano, who once played for the national women’s volleyball team and the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons squad that won the UAAP title during the 1982-1983 season.
The senator expressed her elation over the remarkable performances of Filipino athletes during this year’s SEA Games, earning for the country a total of 155 medals as of Friday afternoon.
As a former student-athlete, Cayetano stressed the need for government to continue providing proper funding and support for the development of Philippine sports and our athletes’ training for regional and international competitions.
“These are hard-earned gold, silver, and bronze medals that our athletes were able to earn [in the SEA Games]. And I hope that the funding and support continue even in the next SEA Games that will not be held here in the Philippines,” she stressed.
Asked about her thoughts on the country’s hosting of the biggest SEA Games to date, the senator said: “The people will see for themselves that we made an amazing decision to host it here. I’d like to believe that this is a legacy that we will leave behind.”
In the Senate, Cayetano authored and co-sponsored Senate Bill No. 1086 or the ‘Philippine High School for Sports (PHSS) Act,’ which seeks to establish a national academy for sports in the country that can train talented young athletes in their respective sports while still allowing them to pursue other educational tracks. #