So let me just go on a mini-rant here.
It’s all about our rugby team and mostly, the rest of our sports scene.
I don’t want to be like the other online haters here but maybe I can... but in a different way.
I just saw the Philippines get destroyed by Malaysia in the 2023 Asian Games rugby sevens. Rugby is a sport that DOES NOT answer the question as to why American football players are left battered and bruised after their careers are over while rugby players rarely have PTSD or CTE in their heads. This is a sport of muscular men wearing short shorts and polo t-shirts slamming their bodies into the opposing players.
Anyway, once upon a time, we were good at rugby. As the Philippine Volcanoes, they were leading the competition in the late 2000s up until the final years of the 2010s. Eric Tai, better known as Eruption, saw action for the team during its peak of awesomeness.
I guess this is why basketball is the top sport in the Philippines. Well, it’s basketball is to the men’s side as women’s volleyball is for the female sports patrons. There is a rich amount of fans and haters as compared to the other sports. Any granny can scream Robert Jaworski in a random slum and everyone would get it.
The same can’t be said with the other sports.
If Hidilyn Diaz, Carlos Yulo, and EJ Obiena retire, none of their predecessors could maintain the sports’ heights in the country. The same can be said with Paeng Nepomuceno, the Philippine Azkals, and the aforementioned Philippine Volcanoes.
Hell, when billiards was at its peak, we had the likes of Jeff De Luna and Lee Van Corteza trying to upstage Efren “Bata” Reyes and Django Bustamante.
When was the last time YOU watched a billiards game on TV?
And don’t give the thing about most of the football and rugby players are foreigners. The Philippines is one of the many countries in the world that suffer racial prejudice so they have every right to represent the country especially if the country needs roster spots. And while I get that they are also robbing opportunities from the players, well there’s a difference between basketball and volleyball to these other sports. Of course, basketball will get pissed at the Fil-foreigners because the game is played all over the country. But other sports do not have the luxury. Besides, most of the players that come to the squad have extensive experience competing against the top stars of the random football or rugby-crazy nations they came from.
Sarina Bolden, in particular, wouldn’t be in this spot if he had a host of women players to dispute her talents.
The best way for these sports to attain some sort of success without the funding of the private sector is through regionalizing it. And I am not saying that the private sector would snub them. Much like how Bago City is to boxing, Batangas is to baseball, and Bacolod is to football, we need these centers to become hotbeds. I know this is not a foreign notion but with this in mind, maybe they can house rugby in some place where there is a great fanbase. Much like football though, the problem lies in the talent. If the UAAP’s top stars relocate to Bacolod to pursue their post-college careers, then this will be difficult without the proper funding.
Again, I am just mini-ranting on a Sunday.