Friday, June 29, 2012

World 9-Ball Championship 2012: Philippine Dismayed


It was a little bit of surprise for Philippines, a country whose cue players always made to the semis of  World 9-Ball Championship. But this time around, the table has turned lucky for Japan, China, Germany and U.K. making to the semi-finals leaving no Filipino on the podium. The winner between Ralf Souquet of Germany and Chinese cue artist Lee He Wen will advance to the final battling the winner between Darren Appleton of U.K. and Naoyuki Ohi of Japan. As of the moment while writing this article, the semi-finals are on-going in Qatar.

Cue Sports

Something is telling that luck is a substance in sports but fielding many good players in an event like this is a big chance to snatch a victory. More than ten Filipino cue artists were present and unluckily braced defeat by countries beginning to be a contender in billiards. To mention, it is the 9-ball event where Filipino can emerge victorious. Other cue sports which are being played internationally like in the World Championships, Asian Games and SEA Games are 8-ball, snooker, English Billiard and 6-Red Snooker. This means that Philippines is not that good in billiards and that it must focus and hold on to what they believe can bring the bacon for them.

Old and New

Veterans are hailed giving glory to beloved Philippines like Django Bustamante, Ronnie Alcano, Dennis Orcullo, Lee Van Corteza, Antonio Gabica, and Efren "Bata" Reyes. Old faces that always represent the country. Since then, no other names were being introduced to the map of Billiards. Maybe it is time to let new and young billiards and snooker athletes to play so that they will not be shocked on international seen. Playing outside the country is very different. Lots of adjustments are to be made like physical conditioning and preparing the mind set of an athlete. All those should be given credit when competing.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Philippines at the 3rd Asian Beach Games

The 3rd Asian Beach Games (ABG) was held in Haiyang, China from June 16 to June 22 of this year with 49 events in 13 sports. Myanmar and North Korea were only present on the opening ceremony that gives 43 participating nations including the Philippines to rake medals at this biennial meet. The Philippines who battled in women's basketball, women's handball, sport climbing and dragon boat race ended up with 2-silver and 2-bronze medals which placed them 11th in the medal tally.  Comparatively, it is better than 2010 edition of ABG but not far better than the 2008 edition which was held in Bali, Indonesia. Philippines got nothing in the 2nd ABG while 2-silver and 8-bronze medals on the 1st edition. Gold medal is still a treasure to hunt in this biennial game. 


Handball. Women's handball who represented  the Philippines were athletes from different sports. They've just grouped to form this team. This seems to be an experimental from Philippine Sports Commission. This is a good action wherein they can able to determine the level of competitiveness of handball team. From just the recently concluded 3rd ABG, the girls really did a good fight knowing that they were grouped with highly favored Thailand and China. With the kind of experience they had in the ABG and learnings they have got from it, they can know formulate better strategies for the next  competition. 

Sport Climbing. Only Men's team represented the Philippines in the ABG but failed to snatch any medal. Just wondering why there is no women representative in this event. Philippines has a woman gold medalist in the last 2011 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games but not given a chance to compete in this year's ABG. She could make a surprise in women's division. How sad. Well, so far this sport is already established but needs more experience in competition. The level of competitiveness is there but good for 6/10 score performance in a larger scale of competition. They need a larger view and the know-how techniques. They need more competition for experiences likewise for the women's team.

Basketball. Women's team competed in the 3rd ABG. They were bracketed with Thailand, India and Nepal in group A in the preliminaries and placed second  behind India after a round robin. In the semi-finals, they faced host China but failed to enter in the finals. If they have just win their first match against India in the preliminaries, they might faced a lighter opponent in the semis and could put them to the finals. But this is not bad for them. This means that women's team is able to catch up with other rivals in Asia. They must compete internationally to be able for them to know more and learn more. If there is Men's team in this year's ABG, a possible first gold in the 3rd ABG is attained. What is four players, a coach and a medical staff? It will not take million peso to spend for Philippine Sports Commission I guess.   

Dragon Boat Race.  Dismay but better performance with this team giving 2 silvers and a bronze. Indonesia is the only country to beat with Myanmar on a no-show in this event. A country surrounded by water but failed to bring a gold medal. Better selection of athletes must be imposed in this sports based on the past performances including the SEA Games. Countries to beat are still Myanmar and Indonesia in Asia. If they will not choose the best athletes for this sport, they can be overtaken by Vietnam and Thailand whose  building up and concentrating in improving their performances every time they compete.


Do not under estimate such competition like this. If there are greater concern like the upcoming Olympics, remember that it is held every 4 years - meaning there are lots of time to prepare from the beginning and ABG can not be disregarded as it can be a source of future Olympian in beach volleyball. Another, experience is the best teacher. Having been failed many times in competitions, failed experiences give an indication that there are wrong doings and mismanagement that must be avoided and must be corrected. Sports planning and analysis of every sports is very necessary to come up with idea to improve the performances of each athletes or team and to be able to get gold medals.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Declining Sports Popularity in the Philippines

Do you know Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao? How about the Azkals of football? Or Django Bustamante of billiards? Yes, they are popular locally and internationally in their perspective field of sports? But how about Marestella Torres and Rene Herrera. Looks familiar, right? They are from athletics and several times they made their country proud. They will represent Philippines in the 2012 London Olympics this coming July. But why some Philippine sports and athletes are not that famous compared to others? Is it because of media? Or is it because of some other factors?

-The Media-

Most sports media coverages are being handled by big broadcasting companies.  Usually, they cover those sports that attract more audiences and more sponsors. Philippine sports which are usually covered "live" by those networks are basketball (PBA, NBA, UAAP and NCAA), boxing (professional) and the recent is football. Volleyball by the virtue of sponsorship is also being broadcast. This makes the present sports of Filipinos. It is being broadcast around the nation and sometimes can be viewed thru pay-per-view around the world. The truth, some other sports organization for example the NBA is much popular than Palarong Pambansa and the Philippine National Games or Batang Pinoy which are grassroot programs of Philippine Sports Commission. The promotions and advertisements of the grassroot programs is somewhat can be compared to a candy and a chocolate. Of course chocolate is more inviting than that of a candy. If we can only do something about this media coverage, we can boost the popularity of some sports which I believe needs focus and greater attention. Media invites more aspiring youth on sports which is proven in basketball. Basketball as being broadcast nationwide inspires youth to become best cager in the country. What more if we pay attention and give chance to have media coverage for some other sports. By this, we can discover talents that can be pillars of Philippine sports.The level of media coverage affects the awareness of Filipinos in sports. I know some Filipinos do not know some sports being played in Asian Games and Southeast Asian Games like Kempo and Bridge.

-The Budget-

Financially speaking, Philippine sports has it but not a priority and not that much. Lately, the governing body of Philippine sports has this so-called "Priority Sports" program that aims to improve the sports in the country. The budget is mostly focus on this program. I don't know if this is only for the SEA Games and Asian Games to get more gold medals and improve its standing. But in terms of World championships, Asian Championships and the least - the Southeast Asian Championships for other sports, where are we? Is there any means of getting financially aided to continue the activities of other non-priority sports? I believe there is. Getting support like what the Philippine Dragon Boat team did was one thing. Sponsorships is one of the best solutions that can solely help the budget scarcity. And it promotes not only the carrier brand but also the sponsored-sport itself. Therefore, budget really affects the sports activities of recognized and non-recognized sports associations in the Philippines and that sports promotion/advertisements is a least of priority.

-The Other-

Local government has something to do with this craving and crying sports. The government as we all know is financially lame on this kind of field. Situation like this needs the aid of local government. Local government can have a big impact in promoting sports because they the nearest to people. Why is it that Department Education can allocate budget for Palarong Pambansa while other department can not? It may not be the same amount of DepEd but at least provide sport gymnasium, rehabilitate stadium and sports facilities and hand sport gears or conduct summer sports program or organize a team. 

See. These are just some aspects affecting the popularity of a sport. Maybe you have in your mind that is not mention here. I remember one commercial tag-line: "Great things start from small beginnings." It doesn't have to be bulged financially but how you manage it properly to become greater.