IN NUMBERS: Athletes, coaches in the 2019 elections
MANILA, Philippines – Athletes and coaches bring their competitive spirit to another arena as several sports personalities take a shot at politics.
Rappler looks at some numbers in the 2019 midterm elections to check which sport most candidates come from, the positions they’re running for, and other trivia.
Here are some quick facts on the 24 sportsmen turned aspiring politicians:
Most candidates come from basketball with 17 players and coaches led by Gilas Pilipinas and NLEX head coach Yeng Guiao and former PBA star Vergel Meneses.
Volleyball comes in second with former University of the Philippines standout Pia Cayetano, as well as ex-Ateneo setter and current national team player Ish Polvorosa.
Boxing is represented by Bobby Pacquiao, a former lightweight contender and the younger brother of Filipino sporting icon Manny Pacquiao.
Monsour del Rosario and Richard Gomez represented the country in taekwondo and fencing, respectively, aside from dabbling in showbiz.
Rene Tongson, meanwhile, is a senior master of the International Modern Arnis Federation of the Philippines.
Cayetano is the lone female with a sports background running in the 2019 elections. She was once a member of the Philippine women’s volleyball team and continues to race in triathlons and cycling competitions.
Most of the candidates are running under the PDP-Laban party. Among the 9 candidates are Richard Gomez and Vergel Meneses.
The Nacionalista and National Unity Party come in second with 3 candidates each.
Only Elvis Tolentino, a basketball coach, is running independently.
Majority of the candidates played for the country’s main collegiate leagues – UAAP, NCAA and CESAFI. PBA team owner and former La Salle basketball player Mikee Romero, ex-UP basketball player Martin Reyes, and national weightlifting association chief Monico Puentevella, meanwhile, pursued politics and other disciplines right after college.
A total of 10 candidates represented the Philippines in international sporting events, among them are Richard Gomez, who won the Southeast Asian Games gold in the men’s fencing epee event, and Rene Tongson, a grandmaster in the International Modern Arnis Federation.
Just like his legendary brother, Bobby Pacquiao jumped into professional boxing, while the 8 other professional athletes were all PBA players.
Ariel Vanguardia and Denden Velez, meanwhile, made a name for themselves in professional coaching.
Cayetano is the only senatorial candidate out of 24 athletes and coaches while 4 candidates – Bobby Pacquiao, Yeng Guiao, Mikee Romero, and Monico Puentevella – are vying for seats in the House of Representatives.
The rest of the 19 candidates are running for positions in local government units. – Research by Leigh Nald Cabildo/Rappler.com