Officials and coaches of the national rowing team are optimistic their athletes will deliver podium finishes at the 31st Southeast Asian Games despite having to resort to borrow boats for the competition.

Philippine Rowing Association president Pato Gregorio said they decided to seek help with their Vietnamese counterparts to provide them with boats due to logistics complexity of having to bring their own boats to the competition, which will be held in Hai Phong city, a two-hour drive from Hanoi.

Other countries have also resorted to borrowing boats, according to Gregorio.

“The logistics process is difficult and we don’t want to compromise na baka in the end, wala tayong bangka na magamit,” Gregorio said during Tuesday’s Philippine Sportswriters Association forum held online.

“We already contacted our colleagues in Vietnam and they said they will allocate boats for the national team.”

The team will leave for Hanoi on Friday, giving them two days to familiarize with the boats that they would use for the competition.

National team coach Ed Maerina said there’s going to be big adjustments, but it’s part of the competition.

The association will send one of its biggest delegations – nine men and seven women – to compete in 13 of the 16 events lined up.

Preliminaries will be on May 9 to 10 with the final races on May 13 to 14.

Eyes will be on Tokyo Olympian Cris Nievarez to defend his lightweight sculls gold medal, but Gregorio and Maerina are confident their other athletes would deliver as well.

Aside from Nievarez, the rowing team is composed of Roque Aballa Jr., Joachim De Jesus, Edgar Ilas, Christian Jasmin, Vax Maxilom, Emmanuel ObaƱa, Zuriel Sumintac, Athens Tolentino, Joanie Delgaco, Alyssa Go, Feiza Jane Lenton, Mireille Qua, Kristine Paraon, Amelyn Pagulayan and Kharl Julianne Sha.

At the 2019 SEAG where six gold medals at stake, the team won three gold and two bronzes.

Source: Manila Bulletin (