PNG: Cebu's gold testament to its 'puso-first' mentality
ABS-CBN Sports on May 25, 2018 06:11 PM
Cebu's puso-first mentality that came from its aggressive grassroots development campaign helps capture the overall championship in the 9th PNG.
CEBU CITY – The team with the biggest delegation – and, according to its commission - the biggest heart, is poised to capture the overall crown in the 9th Philippine National Games (PNG) that formally came to a close Friday at the Cebu City Sports Complex here.
Victories in various fronts prompted Cebu City to zoom past 91 other local government units in the medal race of the multi-sport tourney.
As of 4 PM, the bets from the Queen City bagged 38 gold, 51 silver and 58 bronze medals while Baguio City, Mandaluyong City, General Santos City and Zamboanga City round up the top five squads that stand to be given hefty sports subsidy by the PSC and President Rodrigo Duterte.
Although hostilities in boxing, chess, badminton, volleyball, arnis and dancesports are still ongoing as of press time, there is no denying that Cebu City athletes would bag the overall crown following incredible performances in centerpiece athletics and swimming as well as karatedo, weightlifting and taekwondo.
Cebu City Sports Commission chairman Edward Hayco said it wasn’t just their skills or talent that powered the athletes to this overall crown.
It was their heart.
“For us, puso comes first, medals will follow later. That’s our philosophy,” said Hayco, adding that most of their athletes have been mentoring around 10,000 kids from less fortunate barangays as a way of giving back to their local government.
“That’s why it’s truly a blessing and an opportunity for these athletes to win gold medals in honor of the city. These athletes worked so hard. They are even helping kids from less fortunate barangay. So it’s very heart-warming to see them succeed.”
Hayco said he’s giving Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmena the privilege to decide and announce how they will use the P10-million financial subsidy that the PSC and President Duterte dangled to overall champion.
He, however, hinted that part of it would be used to establish a sports hub in the South Reclamation Project.
“Our athletes need it,” he said. “But I still prefer to give the Mayor the privilege of formally announcing how it’s going to be used and what would be our sports projects in the future.”
Former Southeast Asian Games champion OJ Santos spearheaded the charge as he ruled his pet event in karate while Ronette Ayuda, Joselou Rebalde, Prince Lee and Dexter Tabique clinched multiple gold medals in the athletics and weightlifting competitions for the host city, which deployed the biggest delegation with 252 athletes, 59 coaches and 24 officials.
Santos, who is gunning for a medal in the 18th Asian Games, displayed his sharp form and technique when he dominated the men’s senior individual kata for his sixth straight PNG gold medal.
“This is really a proud moment for me as I won the Philippine National Games gold medal for the sixth time,” said Santos, who has been ruling the event since 2011 before winning the SEA Games crown in the Singapore edition in 2015.
“I take every tournament seriously and every medal counts.”
Meanwhile, Cebu City padded its golden haul after emerging victorious in sepak takraw in the last few hours of hostilities.
The Queen City bets dominated City of Manila, 21-16; 21-16, in the gold-medal match of men’s regu while national team members Melody Longos and Alyssa Cubias Bandoy carried the fight for the women’s squad, which tally a 21-17; 21-10 win over Cebu province in the finals of women’s regu.