by Dennis Principe
The Philippine Rowing team is all set to answer the call of sports officials for them to deliver the goods in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games to be held in the country later this year.
National team head coach and Olympian Edgardo Maerina said his rowers feel motivated in training despite the seemingly pressure-filled order from the Philippine Olympic Committee for them to deliver at least three gold medals in the upcoming biennial meet.
“Sa ngayon experience ang kulang namin pero may suporta naman ang POC lalo na sa plano namin na ilang mga training camps sa Europe at makakuha din ng European coach,” revealed Maerina.
While Maerina declined to reveal the names of potential foreign coaches, the veteran rowing mentor disclosed they are in talks with one coach from Germany and another from Croatia.
“Kung sino ang makuhang foreign coach, diskarte niya ang susundin namin kasi malamang naman sa bansa niya kami mag-training camp kaya dun na din naming iba-base yung needs na hihingin namin sa POC,” said Maerina.
The Philippines became the overall SEA Games champion during the country’s hosting of the event back in 2005 where the Filipino rowers copped three gold medals.
“Sa ngayon mahirap magsabi na kaya natin mag-overall champion kasi noong 2005, sampu ang events noon. Ngayon dito sa atin, anim na events lang,” said Maerina “Kung anim lang ang events, yung mga malalakas na bansa makakatutok na sa mga events kaya mahirap talaga labanan ngayon.”
Still, Maerina is optimistic about their chances despite the retirement of dependables and SEAG veterans Alvin Amposta, Jose Rodriguez and Benjie Tolentino.
“Nakikita ko naman sa machine may potensyal mga rowers natin ngayon,” said Maerina.
The Philippines will be led by multi-SEAG gold winner Nestor Cordova, the promising Cris Nievarez and top lady rower Melcah Jen Caballero who made quite a splash when she won a gold in a prestigious event in Hong Kong last November.