By NIMROD NL QUIÑONES
The Philippines remains in 7th place overall out of 11 countries participating in the Myanmar Southeast Asian Games (SEAG).
With 20 gold medals, the Philippines is 53 golds behind powerhouse Thailand, which now leads the standings ahead of Vietnam with 54 and host Myanmar with 53.
Many were surprised at how Myanmar seems to be doing very well, but this is normally the case of host countries in the SEAG as they are allowed to include sports that they can dominate.
Back in 2005, when the Philippines last hosted the SEAG, arnis was included in the program and yes, we did very well in that event.
Indonesia, which used to dominate the SEAG, is now on 4th with 50 gold medals.
There are still several events where we expect some gold medals to come for the Philippines and I am hoping that we improve our haul especially from the sport of judo.
Cebu-born Fil-Japanese judoka Kiyomi Watanabe, whose mother, Irene Sarausad-Watanabe is from Toledo City, is one of our medal hopes.
In the Jakarta SEA Games in 2011, she managed a bronze medal. This year I am hopeful that she can improve on that finish.
For the first time in years, John Baylon, a living legend in Philippine judo is not part of the squad that is competing in the SEAG.
John has dominated the half-middleweight class for several editions of the SEAG, but retired after 2011.
The first time I saw John compete in the national tournament was back in 1989 at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in Manila.
I was part of the Cebu team in the National Individual Championships and even before the tournament started, I already heard much about the man, who trained for years in Japan, and was back in the country.
He did impress me much especially with the way he could throw his opponents including the really huge players in the openweight division using the uchi mata (inner thigh throw).
I have seen him compete in many more national championships, but only got to see him in action at the SEA Games when the judo event was held in Mandaue City back in 2005.
What just saddened me was the fact that our judo hero has not really been given much accolade despite his achievements.
There will always be new blood that would carry on, but I believe it would be very hard to match John’s nine golds in the SEA Games, missing out on the gilt only in 1993 when Brunei hosted the biennial meet as judo was not included in the events that were held.
Sad news spread like wildfire among the members of the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu community today. Bro. Louis Tremblay SJ has passed on. He would have turned 86 years old this Monday.
Bro Louis was well-loved by the kids, who were always gathered around him. He will definitely be missed.
Rest in peace, Bro!
MILESTONES: Happy birthday greetings to my cousins Carlo Jann Quiñones and Dennis Iway, who both turn a year older today.
The same goes to Genette Asia-Martin, Jay Montecillo, Jerry Capacio, Han Kintanar, Anol Mongaya, and Clifford Celdran.
More power to all of you!