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Only deserving athletes will go to KL – Ramirez

The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) will not hesitate to dip its fingers in the selection of athletes to the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia, saying government money should be spent wisely.

While the PSC is not in charge of choosing who represents the Philippines in the Aug. 19-31 sportsfest in Kuala Lumpur, its resources are used to finance the training, overseas stints and actual participation of each national sport association.

“It’s not the POC (Philippine Olympic Committee) that is watching us but the Filipino people,” said PSC chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez, noting that the agency will put its foot down even if entails earning the ire of the POC.

Ramirez wants a marked improvement from the Filipino athletes, stressing that it can no longer afford to remain at No. 6 in the leaderboard.

The last time in Singapore, the Philippines wound up sixth over with 29 gold medals.

“There has to be positive results in Kuala Lumpur and that 29 gold medals must go up,” said Ramirez.

The POC has actually partnered with the PSC via a Task Force that will handle the selection process but Ramirez has already given POC officials Raymond Lee and Dave Carter a piece of his mind.

The POC had submitted to Malaysia last week 650 athletes, a figure that Ramirez found to be bloated.

“I know that that’s just entry-by-numbers but I would like to make it clear that the PSC is not comfortable financing athletes who don’t deserve to go there,” said Ramirez.

After all, if the Philippines fails miserably again, Ramirez admits that it will be the PSC that will partly take the blame and face the wrath of lawmakers.

“If we fail, the PSC fails because we fund them,” he added.