WINLESS SPELL.The Philippine basketball team looks to end a 20-year medal drought. Photo from Asian Games website
MANILA, Philippines – Despite the usual problems of insufficient funding, politicking and lack of public support, the Filipino athletes always hope for the best and give their finest effort in the international stage.
And this is what the Philippines will again try to do as the country goes to battle in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia from August 18 to September 2. (LIVE UPDATES and MEDAL TALLY: 2018 Asian Games)
But before the quadrennial event kicks off, let us first look at some numbers:
The 272-strong Philippine delegation will be bannered by flag-bearer and Filipino-American NBA player Jordan Clarkson of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Also in the contingent are standouts like Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz of weightlifting, 2014 Asian Games gold medalist Daniel Caluag of BMX cycling, Eric Cray and Mary Joy Tabal of athletics, and Alyssa Valdez and Aby Maraño of volleyball.
And speaking of volleyball…
The Philippines snapped its 36-year absence in the women's volleyball competition by fielding a team that also includes Jaja Santiago and Dawn Macandili. The country’s last participation in the sport was in1982 in New Delhi, India. Competition will be tough, for sure, but the squad gets overwhelming support from many volleyball-crazed Filipinos.
Basketball and volleyball may the most popular sports in the Philippines now, but both national teams haven't found success in the international stage for quite some time.
In fact, it has been 20 years since the country last won a medal in basketball, the last a bronze brought home by the 1998 Centennial Team featuring Alvin Patrimonio, Johnny Abarrientos and “The Triggerman” Allan Caidic.
With 6-foot-5 guard Clarkson granted a one-time exception by the NBA to represent the Philippines, head coach Yeng Guiao and the Rain or Shine-led core of the so-called “Gilastopainters” are now looking to follow the PBA legends’ footsteps.
In addition, it has been 56 long, long years since the Philippines took home the basketball gold in the Asiad. Led by Caloy Loyzaga, one of the greatest Filipino cagers of all time, the country dominated for 16 years and produced four straight Asian Games gold finishes, the last in 1962. Since then, the golden luster has eluded the nation.
The 1962 Asiad was held in Jakarta. Maybe, just maybe, history can repeat itself.
Finally, this number is what really matters.
The Philippines collected 15 medals in the 2014 Games in South Korea, but only one came in gold. Fil-Am Caluag, the country's lone gold winner, even turned out to be a surprise when he topped the BMX action.
While Filipino athletes should be recognized for their sheer dedication and effort, the country has been on a 12-year downward spiral on medal hauls. From 26 medals in 2002, the numbers decreased to 19 in 2006, 16 in 2010, before finishing with 15 four years ago.
Simply put, it’s high time we break that spell. – Rappler.com