MANILA, December 29, 2004 
(STAR) SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson - First Gentleman Foundation executive director Teresa Mangahas sent word the other day that President Arroyo’s husband, also known as Attorney Mike, is sharing his wishes for the holiday season.

In his own words, here are the First Gentleman’s Christmas wishes:

"Unity that all those involved in sports move and act in one direction for the Filipino athlete and the country.

"Overall championship in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2005. If Vietnam could do it (in 2003), why can’t we? We’ve got the raw talent and the corporate sector has been awakened to help out. With the government all-out in its support, we should be able to achieve our goal."

"A Filipino Olympic gold medal in Beijing (in 2008)."

For her part, Mangahas said her personal wish is "the successful staging of the 2005 SEA Games and the emergence of more sports heroes for kids to emulate."

More wishes:

Talk "N’ Text team owner Manny Pangilinan–"My three wishes for Christmas? First, Asi (Taulava) back to Talk ‘N’ Text. Second, a UAAP championship for Ateneo. Third, an NCAA championship for San Beda."

Sportsman and promoter Carlos (Bobong) Velez–"For myself, family and friends, good health and peace of mind. For our country, peace and economic prosperity which will have to start with a transformation of our hearts and a determination to do something positive no matter how seemingly insignificant to move our country forward. We can begin within our own surroundings and community like not littering or by just being kinder to everyone we meet."

Mixed martial arts Hall of Famer Alvin Aguilar–"More international recognition for Filipino athletes. A bigger and even better URCC (Universal Reality Combat Championships). More training materials for MMA (mixed martial arts)."

Multi-awarded broadcast journalist and diehard La Salle alumnus Mike Enriquez–"Harmony, unity and prosperity for all Filipinos. A Christmas wish and a dream."

Quezon City councilor Franz Pumaren, recently signed to a three-year renewal as La Salle coach–"My three wishes: That there will be better opportunities for my children and all of the youth of our land. Good health for my family and loved ones. That there be better performance on all levels so that our country can recover economically and that we may truly have a peaceful country that all of us can be proud of. And may the victims of different typhoons find solace in concerned hands that will reach out to them. A blessed and meaningful Christmas to all."

Cebuana Lhuillier team manager Danny Francisco–"That our national athletes in all sports be given proper support in local and international training and competition. That they be given true recognition as our national athletes now and in the years ahead. That private entities support our National Sports Associations for the continued growth of our national athletes and programs. That peace, sincerity and good health continue upon us and our loved ones by the grace of our Lord."

Coach E basketball camp director and San Miguel All-Stars project director Eric Altamirano–"I just wish that in the midst of the gift-buying and parties, we do not forget the real essence of Christmas which is the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. My personal wish is for my kids and even the next generation to have a safe and peaceful place to live in. I wish that our country will finally have a long-term basketball program that will address the need to develop the grassroots level."

Former Philippine Basketball Association commissioner Jun Bernardino–"My three wishes: Less politics, more governance. Less corruption, more job opportunities. Less animosity, more unity among our sports leaders. May the New Year bring us all new hopes and better tomorrows."

Sports agent Danny Espiritu–"My first wish is that God continues to protect my family from harm and spare them of sickness and pain in life. Second, I hope that the sport that I love, basketball, will be successful in terms of harmony among the heads of all associations that have a stake in the game. Third, I hope that our nation moves up economically."

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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