Team Philippines’ preparations for upcoming international competitions are in full swing with the ongoing rehabilitation works at Philippine Sports Commission (PSC)-managed Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC) and PhilSports Complex that will serve as training venues for Team Philippines.
PSC Chairman Noli Eala said, “We are excited to see the national athletes back in training in these facilities.”
The national sports agency, according to him, is “full steam ahead” in ensuring that the agency delivers quality services to the national team and grassroots partners, including preparing its facilities for training and competitions.
RMSC’s two major facilities – the Rizal Memorial Coliseum (RMC) and Ninoy Aquino Stadium (NAS) – are currently undergoing repairs and rehabilitation having been used as government quarantine facilities and medical centers for COVID-19 patients in 2020. These facilities were returned to the PSC by the Armed Forces of the Philippines last July 19.
Team Philippines training facilities
Members of the national team are currently training at the RMSC baseball and softball field, tennis center, swimming and diving pool, wushu and wrestling gyms, billiards, and judo hall. The newly-built squash center is now also open for national athletes.
The track and football stadium is hosting the ongoing games of the Philippine Football League, which is sanctioned by the Philippine Football Federation (PFF), until October. The stadium also was the official venue of the AFF Women’s Championship 2022 where the Philippines emerged champion.
Other RMSC facilities like the RMC, badminton hall, and table tennis center, will also undergo inspection and general cleaning activity before they can operate again.
However, NAS will remain closed until September 30.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) returned the PhilSports’ Multi-Purpose Arena in Pasig City to the PSC in June this year.
Abled and para-athletes are training at the Philsports Complex fencing hall, swimming pool, track and field oval, and football field while the kurash and Karatedo teams are sharing training facilities on the second floor of the Philsports PSC Dining Hall.
The PhilSports dormitories serve as billeting quarters for the national track and field and fencing teams.
Eala assured that health safety protocols are strictly being implemented in all facilities to protect athletes’ health.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) named basketball legend and baseball federation president Joaquin “Chito” Loyzaga as chef de mission (CDM) of Team Philippines for the 32nd Southeast Asian Games 2023 in Cambodia.
POC President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino also appointed sambo association head Paolo Tancontian and canoe-kayak head coach and international technical official Leonora “Len” Escollante as Loyzaga’s deputies in the biennial games slated May 5 to 16 SEA Games. It will be the first SEA Games hosting for Cambodia that will host 608 events in 49 sports.
Tolentino, in a statement, said, “Their handling of their respective NSAs (national sports associations) and their management skills make them deserving of the posts.”
The 64-year-old Loyzaga, the Philippine Amateur Baseball Association president, thanked the POC chief for his trust and confidence in him.
“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,” Loyzaga, who was deputy CDM in the 2010 Asian Beach Games, said.
Dabawenyo Tancontian, for his part, said, “This is another milestone in my career. I couldn’t be more grateful to the God Almighty and to the people who believe in me.”
“With the trust and responsibility vested in me, I am genuinely grateful. I accept this challenge with humility and determination,” the Philippine Sambo Federation president said.
Escollante, on the other hand, was surprised by the appointment but readily accepted the responsibility.
“I thank the POC for the trust and rest assured, I’ll do my best to deliver with excellence,” said Escollante, a member of the national team that last won a SEA Games women’s volleyball gold medal in Singapore in 2003.