As pool standout Rubilen Amit and fairway phenom Princess Superal beamed with pride with their hefty paychecks Friday night, a dark-skinned fellow quietly watched the proceedings from a distance where the VIP sports officials and big winners sat and exchanged congratulatory messages.
Hermie Macaranas of canoe kayak was among those who were cited and given cash rewards by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) at the Philsports Arena in Pasig following the 2013 Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar but what the 18-year-old took was small change compared with what Amit and Superal received.
Amit emerged as the biggest winner with a collection of P150,000 (one gold and one silver), while Superal took home P133,000 (golds in the inidividual and team events). But another double-gold winner, trackster Archand Bagsit, was not around.
Macaranas was just a bronze medalist and only got a measly P10,000, an amount that is dwarfed by the P100,000 for a gold and P50,000 for a silver won in the biennial sportsfest.
PSC chairman Richie Garcia said it’s about time that the SEAG incentives be raised owing to the changing times and PSC executive director Guillermo Iroy said the proposal is for a gold medal to be increased to P200,000, a silver to P100,000 and a bronze to P50,000.
But that’s easier said than done since a law has to be either passed or amended before anyhting can be done.
Amit was in high spirits as she was holding her two checks, saying a part of it will go to the further improvement of her skills and a fraction will be for herself.
“You have to reward naman siguro,” said Amit, who is looking forward to more tournaments–and more wins–this year.
Superal, 16, who narrowly missed joining the delegation to Myanmar, could not hide her delight over her conquest and told a handful of scribes that the money she got will be put in the bank.
“We are so happy because we almost didn’t get to go to the SEAG,” said Superal.
The Philippines wound up seventh place – its worst finish ever – with just 29 gold medals but Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco defended the athletes and their performance, saying those who continue to criticize the team simply don’t know what they’re talking about.
“They don’t understand sports,” said Cojuangco, stressing that the Filipino bets didn’t allow the opposition to bully them.
Still, for a guy like Macaranas, all that mattered was winning and making an impression.
Unlike Amit and Superal, Macaranas won’t be going home to his family in Taytay, Rizal, with a pocket bulging with wads of cash.
As Amit and Superal look forward to pampering themselves a bit, Macaranas won’t have that luxury.
You see, Macaranas does (tilapia) fishing whenever he’s not in serious training to augment the household income and Macaranas has one thing in mind as soon as he gets to encash the check thi coming week.
“I will use it (P10,000 incentive) to buy a new new fishing net,” said Macaranas.
The problem is a new net costs about P50,000.