The search is on for fighters who can be part of the national team in arnis.
And it won’t be long before they can assemble a national developmental pool and an elite team which will see action in the Southeast Asian Games next year.
Sports officials said this after staging the first Philippine Eskrima and Kali Association of the Philippines National Battle of Champions last weekend at the Le Pavilion in Pasay City.
“What we have here are the best of the best. All the styles of arnis are here. Kailangan nang magkaisa,” said Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, president of the Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation, Inc.
There were around 160 arnis practitioners who saw action, chosen from the regional championships in Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and the National Capital Region.
The winners in the two-day event will form the national team that will gear up for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines.
“We took it upon ourselves to unite with this tournament,” said Zubiri.
The Bago City Arnis team ais among the favorites, after having a strong finish with 2 gold medals, 3 silver and 5 bronze medals in the 2018 Philippine National Games held in Cebu.
The Bagonhon team collected a gold medal in the Anyo event, courtesy of Leizl Matulac in the individual unidentical weapon, with Junary Garcia settling for the silver in the individual single weapon category.
In the full contact, Joram Paul Pangcobila is seen as a big favorite, after securing the gold medal in the featherweight division, where he defeated his Mandaue City opponent in the finals.