Philippine Sport Commission chairperson Jose Emmanuel “Noli” Eala formally drew the support of ranking Philippine Olympic Committee officials over dinner late Monday.
POC treasurer Cynthia Carrion told Daily Tribune that their first meeting with the new PSC chief was warm, cordial and very light in which they rally behind his leadership.
Carrion said the POC executive council came in full force with president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, first vice president Al Panlilio and second vice president Richard Gomez sitting next to Eala said during the two-hour social gathering at a restaurant in Pasay City to assure him that they will help him run the country’s sports agenda.
Also gracing the meeting were POC board members Jose Raul Canlas, Pearl Managuelod and Dave Carter as well as chief legal counsel Atty. Wharton Chan and deputy secretary general Bones Floro.
POC auditor Chito Loyzaga was also there to share his experience with Eala being a former sports commissioner under the leadership of former PSC chief Ricardo Garcia.
Interestingly, POC secretary general Ed Gastanes, chairperson Steve Hontiveros, board member Charlie Ho, International Olympic representative Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski were not around.
“The meeting was light, cordial and very friendly,” Carrion, also the gymnastics chief, said.
“He asked for our support and in return we also asked for his support to our athletes, especially Caloy (Yulo) and other who are competing for gold medals in the Paris Olympics in 2024. We reminded him to spend government money wisely and avoid any delays that would affect the training of our athletes.”
Eala said they tackled various topics, including those that transpired in the past.
He, however, did not elaborate.
“I was there to listen,” Eala said during the weekly Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday morning.
“It was really a social call and it was very courteous. Majority of the POC board were there. We discussed some basic things that have transpired in the past.”
The former commissioner of the Philippine Basketball Association said he intends to keep and improve that relationship that has led to resounding victories, highlighted by Hidilyn Diaz’ gold-medal feat in the Tokyo Olympics.
“I think it was a good start. It shows a united front and it shows cooperation,” he said, adding that he will sit down in a general assembly with national athletes in the coming days.
“That is part of my priorities. I’m making the request and hopefully hold a general assembly so I can talk to them. We will take care of our athletes,” Eala said.
Carrion said having a sportsman and a seasoned broadcaster as PSC chief is a major advantage.
She said aside from being fully aware of the dynamics in Philippine sports, Eala also already personally knew all of the officials, coaches and athletes, making it easier for him to identify and solve the problems hounding Philippine sports.
“In fact, we used to play badminton together. He is a good friend from way, way back,” Carrion said.
“Also, he told me that he loves Caloy because he always interviews him in his sports program. That’s already an advantage. At least he already knows everybody and he will definitely hit the ground running.”
A reliable Tribune source claimed that Eala was given a chance to appoint two more commissioners while another one will come from the ranks of national sports associations.
The names were already submitted to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and is expected to be signed in the coming days to formally complete the five-man PSC board of commissioners.
Carrion said having Eala around is a big boost to Philippine sports.
“He is very professional. We all love his ideas, his character and personality. I’m sure he will do good,” said Carrion, also a former sports commissioner.
“But more than that, the lines between the PSC and the POC are now open and we expect a stronger, more harmonious relationship between the two sports bodies.”