Hanoi—Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino on Monday asked the entire nation to rally behind Team Philippines which, despite stumbling in events Filipino athletes were expected to dominate, stood fighting at third place halfway through the 31st Southeast Asian Games.
“We are hoping and praying to maintain our momentum although we lost in some sports like tennis, golf and basketball 3X3, among others, which we had a good chance of winning gold,” Tolentino, also the PhilCycling head, said.
“We need to recover [lost golds] and capture more golds from the other sports,” added Tolentino, who’s energy continued to surge as he tried his best to make the rounds in venues situated distant from each other to rally behind Filipino athletes. “We still have boxing, gymnastics, karate, athletics, basketball, weightlifting, taekwondo, wrestling and other combat sports where we could win medals.”
The Philippines was a fighting third in the medals race on Sunday with 20 golds, 27 silvers, and 38 bronzes. Host Vietnam was in a hurry to emerge overall champion with a front-running 67 golds, 46 silvers, and 44 bronze followed by Thailand with 27 golds, 24 silvers, and 38 bronzes.
Indonesia continued to threaten the Philippines with 20 golds in fourth place. Tokyo Olympian and two-time world champion Carlos Yulo led the gold medal rush for the country with three gold medals as of Monday. Kim Mangrobang also made it a double with her victories in triathlon and duathlon that were staged within 24 hours apart.
Tolentino told the Filipino athletes who have yet to compete to never lose hope, saying “the whole nation is with them in this fight.”
“Never give up and continue to fight for our country,” he said.