PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee (POC) President Abraham Tolentino yesterday named baseball chief Chito Loyzaga as the country’s chef-de-mission (CDM) to the 32nd Southeast Asian (SEA) Games set in Phnom Penh, Cambodia next year.
Mr. Tolentino also appointed sambo’s Paolo Tancontian and national canoe-kayak coach Len Escollante as deputies in the biennial event, which will be hosted by the Cambodians for the first time from May 5 to 16.
“Their handling of their respective national sports associations and their management skills make them deserving of the posts,” said the mayor from Tagaytay.
The 64-year-old Mr. Loyzaga, a current POC auditor and a former commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission who has some experience in that capacity after serving as deputy CDM in the 2010 Asian Beach Games in Muscat, Oman, thanked Mr. Tolentino for the opportunity.
“I want to express my appreciation to POC President Bambol (Tolentino) for his trust and confidence in me to be the head of the Philippine delegation for Cambodia SEA Games,” said Mr. Loyzaga, a former basketball legend having won championships with San Beda in college and Ginebra in the pros and was part of the National team that copped a silver in the 1990 Beijing Asiad.
Mr. Loyzaga vowed to respond to the call for a national team already facing tall odds after host Cambodia imposed strict limitations on foreign participants in martial arts events.
This rule, which allows other nations a maximum of 70-percent participation in combat sports as against the local team’s 100 percent participation, impedes the Filipinos’ bid to surpass, if not match, their fourth-place effort in last May’s Hanoi SEA Games.
“It’s a big challenge for the Philippines to perform well, as well as the other countries, because of the number of sports favoring the host country. It will be very challenging,” he said.
Mr. Loyzaga and his deputies will officially exercise their functions after the POC General Assembly gives its official stamp of approval next week. — Joey Villar