The country's top representative to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, said expectations need to be managed as Michael Martinez laces up for the preliminary phase of the figure-skating competition scheduled Friday morning.
Tom Carrasco, chef de mission of the Philippine team to the Games, told ABS-CBN News Thursday night that the goal for Martinez is to crack the top 24 at Gangneung Ice Arena and advance.
There are 30 entries in the qualifying short program on Friday, and those who make the quota will be entered in the free-skate round, or the medal round, on Saturday.
Competition Friday morning begins at roughly 9 a.m. Manila time (10 a.m. Pyeongchang).
Unlike his rivals, Martinez didn't have the benefit of a prolonged preparation heading into the tournament.
Martinez received his Olympic ticket some time late January when a Swedish entry backed out.
Carrasco said Martinez's training has been limited and not as intense compared with the rest of the field, given the short notice.
"Dehado tayo. I told Michael to do his best. This is the Olympics. Remember the Olympic spirit. Twice Olympian ka na. Do your best for your country," Carrasco said.
Martinez is currently ranked No. 44 in the world, 3 places behind Julian Yee of Malaysia.
Yee took home the gold medal in the Southeast Asian Games last year, edging Martinez, who settled for silver.
"Kailangan lang siguro (for Martinez), do your best, your personal best and maybe iakyat mo iyong world ranking mo," Carrasco said.
In the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Martinez made the final-24 cut and placed 20th in the free-skating phase. He was Southeast Asia's lone representative in those Games.