Olympian Martinez, speed skating champ Magno headline PH team to inaugural SEA Games winter sports events

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANDALUYONG—The country's representatives to the first edition of the winter sports events of the SEA Games were formally introduced in a special press conference at the SM Megamall Skating Rink on Thursday.

Michael Martinez, the first Southeast Asian Winter Olympian, headlines the 30-man crew that will participate in three events on ice in the biennial meet from Aug. 19-31 in Kuala Lumpur.

Joining Martinez in the figure skating team are former national junior champion Samantha Cabiles, former national senior champion Alisson Perticheto, and SEA Figure Skating Challenge champion Jules Alpe.

Alpe, who was the lone figure skater present in the formal introduction, even showed a glimpse of what he will bring to the table in the Malaysian capital with a special performance in front of the general public at the end of the program.

On the other hand, Kath Magno, the first Filipino to compete in an international speed skating contest and even won it, is a heavy favorite to win the 500-meter and 1000-meter speed skating races in the SEA Games having to win them in the Tri-Series Southeast Asia Cup last year.

Completing the list is the national ice hockey team, simply known as Team Pilipinas.

Six of its members, veteran Francois Gautier and young guns Jorell Crisostomo, LR Lancero, BJ Imperial, Miguel Relampagos, Miguel Serrano, and Julian Santiago, came to the said presser.

Fresh from a bronze medal finish in Division 2 of the Asian Winter Games last year, Team Pilipinas now sets its sights on giving heavy favorite Thailand, who actually won it all in Division 1, a run for its money.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno