Why should you watch the 30th Southeast Asian Games?
It was 2005 when the Philippines last hosted the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. If we are to follow the pattern and rotation, it may take 10+ years for the Philippines to host again this kind of event! For a “non-millenial” like me, I would have turned a little below or above 50 years old by that time and I may not be able to jump, dance and shout out loud to cheer our national teams.
Most Filipinos are big fans of sports and I am one of them. I played Basketball, Volleyball, Table Tennis, Chess, Darts and Billiards during my younger days. I also used to watch Cycling during Marlboro Tour days, Track and Field, Swimming and Boxing every regional meet.
On Day 6 (December 6, 2019) of the 30th SEA games and hosted by the Philippines, we had the chance to watch a game held in the newly-renovated PhilSports Arena.
Here are some of the highlights of our national team:
Men’s football team bowed out of medal race
The Azkals, our national team for Football, fell short in the semifinals and they have missed the chance to qualify for a medal game after letting Timor Leste score a heartbreaking goal.
Maybe they missed any medal in the event but they earned all of our respect.
The dominance of Gilas Pilipinas
Basketball is the most famous sports in the Philippines and the Gilas Pilipinas is a powerhouse team in the region.
As expected, the team finished first place (gold medal) and they continue to show their dominance in Southeast Asia.
The next team sports which I believe has a strong following in the country is Volleyball.
The historic run of Men’s volleyball team
Our Men’s Volleyball team has never won a gold medal in SEA Games history. The highest medal they have achieved was Silver in 1977 Bangkok SEA Games.
In this year’s SEA Games, they have already won two games against Cambodia and Vietnam before meeting the mighty Indonesia last Friday.
The game was close however, the national team lost in 3 sets against Indonesia.
Our team was already booked to Final Four after finishing second in the Pool B elimination round with a 2-1 win-loss record but our lost to Indonesia team have set up a collision course with the unbeaten and five-peat-seeking Thailand.
Our national team made a record. The team has dethroned Thailand in a thrilling semifinal match. Energized by a wild crowd inside the PhilSports Arena, our national team beat the Thais in 5 sets (17-25, 25-20, 23-25, 27-25, 17-15).
The national team finished second place (silver medal) when we lost to Indonesia powerhouse team in the finals.
Indeed, it is a historic run for the men’s volleyball team. The last time the national team reached the finals was in 1977.
Efren Reyes’ last dance
In the other sporting event on the same day, Efren “Bata” Reyes lost to a Vietnamese rival in one-cushion carom. The vietname dominated Efren Reyes in semifinals via 100-14 semifinal victory.
Efren Reyes settled for third place (bronze medal). SEA games gold still eludes Reyes and sadly, he announced his retirement in competing in any international billiard events.
The heroic act of Roger Casugay
The biggest news that spread in social media during SEA games was when our local surfer, Roger Casugay, saved his Indonesian rival in the midst of the Men’s Longboard Open competition.
The surfing event was held in La Union.
Indonesia’s Arip Nurhidayat broke his leash and was swept away by the waves, and Roger Casugay came to rescue. His act is indeed more valuable than gold! #WeWinAsOne.
Roger Casugay won the gold medal in Surfing Men’s Longboard Open event. He defeated his Indonesian rival whom he saved from drowning.
The next Southeast Asian Games
Why should you watch Southeast Asian (SEA) Games especially if the Philippines is the host of the event?
It is a one-of-a-kind experience as you will see the national team compete in your own country, give their very best to achieve the gold medal.
It is exciting, overwhelming and fulfilling.
The 2019 Southeast Asian Games could be the last time we will see Efren Reyes compete but we have a lot of national players that we can throw our support and cheer during their games.
You might missed to watch any of the games hosted by the Philippines but definitely this is not the last. The Philippines will surely host again in the future. It is a good opportunity for everyone to watch our national team, our favorite players and teams.
We win as one.
Note: The 30th SEA Games were held in 23 cities across the country and mainly located in Metro Manila, Clark and Subic.