Starting on the right foot

LESS than a week into his appointment and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman Noli Eala has rubbed elbows with Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino and members of the POC Executive Board.

“It was a very good start,” Eala told Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum that went face-to-face at the PSC Administration Building inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex. “I was there to listen.”

The POC welcomed Eala with a dinner at the East Ocean Garden Restaurant in Pasay City on Monday, the same day former chairman William “Butch” Ramirez turned over the reins of the PSC to the former Philippine Basketball Association commissioner.

“It was really a social call and it was very courteous. Majority of the POC board were there,” Eala said. “We discussed some basic things that have transpired in the past.”

Eala said he’s aware that a harmonious relationship between the PSC, POC and the national sports associations (NSAs) is key to a successful Philippine sport program.

He said he intends to keep and improve the relationship that has led to resounding victories, highlighted by Hidilyn Diaz’s gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

“I think it was a good start. It shows a united front and cooperation,” said Eala of the dinner graced by First Vice President Al Panlilio, Second Vice President Richard Gomez, Treasurer Cynthia Carrion Norton, Auditor Chito Loyzaga, board members Pearl Managuelod, Dr. Raul Canlas and Dave Carter, Chief Legal Counsel Atty. Wharton Chan and Deputy Secretary General Bones Floro.

Eala told the forum presented by San Miguel Corp., Milo, POC, PSC, Amelie Hotel Manila, Unilever and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. that he wants nothing but success for Filipino athletes, who, he said, will meet soon.

“That is part of my priorities. I’m making the request and hopefully hold a general assembly so I can talk to them,” he said. “We will take care of our athletes.”

On Eala’s desk are the return of the Batang Pinoy nationals in Ilocos Sur in December and major international competitions next year—32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia in May and the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou in September. There are also the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in November.

“The blueprint to success is very simple,” Eala said, referring to coaching, sports psychology, proper nutrition, international exposure and infrastructure or training venues.

Eala said the private sector will also play a key along with the continued support from the national government and government-owned-and-controlled corporations like Pagcor.

“By harnessing the support of the private sector, we can create more Hidilyn Diazes and Caloy Yulos,” he said. “This is the vision behind the new [Project] Gintong Alay that we want to build.”

“But everything starts with a vision. Everything starts with a plan,” he said. “We are all allies. We are all partners in bringing forward the agenda of Philippine sports.”

Image credits: PSC POC