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MANILA – The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) on Tuesday vowed to fully support the members of Team Philippines when they compete in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games scheduled May 5 to May 17 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

PSC chairperson Richard Bachmann said the support includes funding preparation, supplies, manpower and logistics.

Asked to predict Team Philippines’ finish in the biennial meet, Bachmann said he hopes for a better performance this year.

“I just want to support them. If we were fourth place last year, then hopefully we can improve this year,” Bachmann said during his guesting at the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila.

Team Philippines will be banking on the 840-strong Philippine delegation that will carry the country’s tricolors in 38 disciplines in the biggest biennial multisport event in the region.

Boxing, one of the country’s medal-rich sports, will be bannered by 2020 Tokyo Olympics silver medalists Nesthy Petecio and Carlo Paalam. Olympian and world gymnastics champion Carlos Yulo and world No. 3 pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena are also strong gold medal contenders in Cambodia meet.

Weightlifting Olympian Elreen Ando and Asian champion Vanessa Sarno will spearhead the national weightlifting squad in the absence of the Philippines’ first Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz who is deep in training to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“Our national athletes have been working hard and hopefully, all their hard work will pay off,” added Bachmann who has been visiting the training and preparations of the different national teams since January.

Aside from the SEA Games, Bachmann also encouraged each National Sports Association (NSA) to look at the bigger picture, especially at other major events that are also set this year like the Asian Games, World Championships, and qualifying events for the Paris Olympics.

“I’m not putting down the Southeast Asian Games, I’m just saying that, we should win that all the time. We have many events this year, suportahan natin ang atletang Pilipino (let’s support the Filipino athletes),” Bachmann said.

There will be a send-off party for Team Philippines on April 24 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.

No less than President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. is expected to attend. (PR)