So even if the NBA wars have finally ended with the favored Los Angeles Lakers taking Game 6 over the Miami Heat in impressive fashion and the PBA just starting its own bubble war, another battle is looming in the local world of sports.
Though even if this is a sports war, it will certainly not be a physical one but I am sure words will be exchanged. I am referring to the coming Philippine Olympic Committee elections on November 27 for the 51 National Sports Associations plus the Athletes’ Commission and Mikee Jaworski as the International Olympic Committee representative.
The main protagonists are current POC president Bambol Tolentino from cycling, going up against Clint Aranas from archery for the presidency.
Fed up with politicking in sports, Ricky Vargas vacated the presidency in August 2019 prior to the SEA Games, with Tolentino beating Philip Ella Juico from athletics in special elections thereafter.
For the record, here are the other candidates before I share my personal thoughts.
Triathlon’s Tom Carrasco is with Bambol, an old ally, for the chairmanship position against netball’s Steve Hontiveros; Al Panlilio from the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas against Juico for 1st Vice President; Richard Gomez of heptathlon against Aranas’ adopted candidate Ada Milby of rugby for the 2nd VP position; Cynthia Carrion for treasurer opposite Julian Camacho of wushu; and newcomer Chito Loyzaga of baseball possibly against weightlifting chief Monico Puentebella for the auditor position.
Those mentioned first are with Bambol.
Running for directors are Pearl Managuelod from muay thai, Dave Carter from judo, Jose Raul Canlas from surfing and Butch Pichay from chess, all under Bambol.
On the other hand, Joey Romasanta, Robert Mananquil and Jeff Tamayo are reportedly the candidates under Aranas.
However, if Puentebella will be followed, there may not even be an election until next year as he cited the pandemic as a reason that a lot of candidates will not be able to travel just to vote. But as far as Bambol is concerned, it will push through as scheduled either at the Conrad Hotel in Mall of Asia, or the East Ocean Palace in the same area, both places big enough to maintain social distancing. Swab testing will be required of all before they can vote.
Going back to Vargas’ point that there is too much politics in Philippine sports, that remains to be true, now and maybe forever. Each NSA is worth one vote and both sides will try their darndest best to court each NSA to go their way, and politics will be a given in this scenario.
Honestly, I am happy that former POC president Peping Cojuangco is not part of the election, either by choice or by rule I am not sure, but I am certain that he is the master politician and that he should consider retiring for good, considering his age alone, never mind what he has not accomplished in the past.
And talking about age, it was reported that there was a previous talk to exclude those 70 years old and above in this and other future elections in the POC. Unfortunately, this was tabled for the next administration to tackle, but it’s high time that this provision be included in the POC bylaws to give a chance to younger people to have their opportunities to lead our local world of sports.
Looking at the candidates, there are those who should have not run anymore. I have been too long in sports not to have heard a lot of behind the scenes and purportedly tales of corruption that involve sports officials, or their non-performance and I believe them to be true.
Sepak takraw’s feisty president Karen Caballero should be among the candidates, but I am glad Loyzaga has thrown in his hat in the polls.
But in the end, it will all be left to the registered voters of each NSA as to how they will cast their votes, will it be for the interest of Philippine sports, or for some other reason?
Let us all wait for the outcome.