HANGZHOU—Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino vowed to continue fighting for the inclusion of Calvin Abueva, Terrence Romeo, Mo Tautuaa and Jason Perkins on the men’s 5×5 basketball team for the 19th Asian Games.
“We will push it a thousand times, we’ll push it every time they deny it,” Tolentino said after the flag-raising ceremony for the country at the Asian Games Village (Athletes Village) on Thursday afternoon.
The POC has been pushing for the four Philippine Basketball Association players’ inclusion in the final 12 of Gilas Pilipinas for the 5×5 competition that starts Wednesday with the Philippines taking on Bahrain as its first assignment in Group C.
“We’ll push it every minute and they deny it,” he stressed.
The four’s inclusion started in the delegation registration meeting, or DRM, that was supposed to be done and over with for only a day last Sunday. But the procedure has dragged on two days before Saturday’s opening ceremony.
The POC also sought the inclusion of three athletes in fencing and one each in gymnastics and golf as late replacements but were denied with finality by the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee or Hagoc.
They were fencers Alexa Lareabal, Hae Abella and Lee Ergina, golfer Chanelle Avaricio and gymnast Levi Jung-Ruivivar.
Tolentino led the flag-raising ceremony that formally welcomed the Philippine delegation in Hangzhou, the third city in China to host the Asian Games after Beijing in 1990 and Hangzhou in 2010.
“This is the start of the warm hosting and showcasing of the Hangzhou Asian Games,” said Tolentino, who was accompanied by Philippine chess legend Grandmaster Eugene Torre and iceskating head and deputy chef de mission Nikki Cheng, representing chef de mission Rep. Richard Gomez who’s due here Friday, and kickboxing head Atty. Wharton Chan.
“We are praying for fair sports and we strongly hope to separate all other issues from the Games,” he said. “Geopolitics has no place in sport. Sports united people.”