Out to exorcise the demons of their poor performance at the 2013 South-east Asia (SEA) Games, the Philippines have set an important task for their athletes who will do battle in Singapore.
Their goal will be to surpass their 41-gold haul at the 2007 Games in Thailand.
The 464-strong contingent are already more than double the size of the group that featured in Myanmar two years ago, with the 208 participants winning only 29 gold medals.
Chef de mission Julian Camacho is confident they will perform much better in Singapore and pinned his country's gold medal hopes on archery and billiards.
He also expected his basketball players to defend their SEA Games title, which they have won 15 out of 16 times in the Games' history.
"We have a big team this year and we want to do better than in Myanmar. I believe we can bring home 60 gold medals this time," he told The New Paper yesterday, after his team were hosted at a welcome ceremony at Kallang Wave Mall.
This year's contingent will be the Philippines' third largest at the Games after 1981, 1991 and 2005 when they were hosts.
They will feature a sizeable number of athletes holding dual nationalities who will compete in swimming, athletics, judo and tennis.
"We always look for more Filipino athletes overseas after every SEA Games because they add depth to our squad," he said.
With a strong Filipino community - close to 200,000 - in Singapore, Camacho hopes to see a healthy turnout of supporters at the Games, although tickets for many of the popular sports have already been sold out.
"On my previous visit to Singapore, I attended a community event organised to cheer on the team and the attendance was good," he said.
"So I hope we can work something out to let the Filipinos here watch the Games."
This article was first published on June 03, 2015.
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