Panlilio: Let's focus on athletes

Panlilio: Let's focus on athletes

MANILA, Philippines — Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) president Al Panlilio did not think twice accepting the offer to run as first vice president under the ticket of incumbent Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Abraham Tolentino for tomorrow’s polls.

The two main reasons, according to Panlilio, are serving the national athletes and helping the country win its first gold medal in the Olympics.

“Being in the POC, it’s not to be served, you have to serve, especially the athletes,” said Panlilio in the Tiebreaker Times vodcast sponsored by Smart Sports Tuesday night.

“I want us to elevate our level of achievement internationally. We haven’t won our first (Olympic) gold medal and the MVPSF (Manny V. Pangilinan Sports Foundation) started because we knew there are certain sports that we can really win the gold. That would be an achievement to us,” he added.

Aside from basketball, the MVPSF is supporting sports like boxing, football, taekwondo, cycling, golf and badminton, among others, as part of its goal of producing world champions.

Panlilio stressed the importance of having leaders serving in the POC that are athletes themselves.

“In fact, I was talking to Richard (Gomez) and told him I was an athlete in my youth,” said Panlilio, referring to fencing and modern pentathlon president Richard Gomez, who is running as second vice president, also under Tolentino’s ticket.

“I’m not a national team member but you have Chito Loyzaga, Dr. George Canlas. They were national athletes so they know what they need and I think that would be very helpful for the POC board to understand. What is the best way for us to be able to help our athletes? That should be the primordial objective of the POC,” he added.

Panilio also said they should veer away from politics and unite.

“I always believed in the values that I’ve learned from sports and I’ve been able to apply that in the corporate world. We have to apply the value of teamwork. You have to have one game plan, one vision, one target,” said Panlilio.

“I just hope the POC was less political, and really focus on the athletes,” he added.