Best of 2012 honored in PSA Awards Night
World title holders Nonito Donaire Jr. and Josie Gabuco, along with the Ateneo Blue Eagles and Manila women’s softbelles are co-recipients of the Athlete of the Year award to be handed out by the Philippine Sportswriters Association. Jerome Ascano

THE men and women of Philippine sports share a rare moment together on a night of celebration honoring the best and brightest of the year 2012.

Fifty-nine personalities will be given tribute in the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA)-MILO Annual Awards Night on Saturday at the grand ballroom of the Manila Hotel in recognition of their achievements that served as source of pride and joy to this country of 100 million Filipinos in the year past.

On top of the honor roll list are two distinguished world title holders in boxers Nonito Donaire Jr. and Josie Gabuco, along with a pair of champion teams in the Ateneo Blue Eagles and Manila women’s softbelles, co-recipients of the coveted Athlete of the Year award handed out by the country’s oldest media organization.

Sportsman-businessman Mikee Romero serves as guest of honor and speaker, and shares center stage with the country’s top sports officials headed by Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Jose `Peping’ Cojuangco and Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Ritchie Garcia, as they extend their heartfelt gratitude to all the awardees on behalf of the Filipino people.

Saturday night's glittery affair starting at 7:30 p.m., is hosted by basketball great Benjie Paras and Ai Dela Cruz, with live performances to be provided by the lovely Isabelle De Leon.

Longtime PSA partner DZSR Sports Radio 918 will carry a live broadcast of the event presented by the PSC, San Miguel Corp., Smart, Philippine Basketball Association, Globalport 900, Rain or Shine, LBC, Meralco, Senator Chiz Escudero, SM Prime Holdings, and ICTSI and Philippine Golf Tour.

Also to be handed out during the two-hour, special ceremony are major awards in various sports, President’s Award (Smart Gilas Pilipinas), Executive of the Year (Chito Salud), NSAs of the Year (SBP and NGAP), Mr. Football (Chieffy Caligdong and Eduard Sacapano), Outstanding High School Players (Axel Toni Ngui and Kirsten Chloe Daos), Tony Siddayao Award, and special citations.

A minute of silence will also be offered to prominent athletes and friends of sports who passed away last year.

Donaire will be receiving his third Athlete of the Year award from the PSA, having been the recipient of the same plum in 2007 and 2011, respectively, which he shared with swimmer Miguel Molina and pool great Dennis Orcollo.

Gabuco, Ateneo Blue Eagles, and the Manila women’s softball team are first-time winners of the prestigious trophy.

                                  2012 PSA Final List of Awardees

ATHLETES OF THE YEAR

Nonito Donaire Jr. Team Manila women’s softball team

Josie Gabuco Ateneo Blue Eagles team

PRESIDENT’S AWARD

Smart Pilipinas

EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR

Chito Salud

MAJOR AWARDEES

Mary Grace Delos Santos (athletics), Brian Viloria (boxing), Johnriel Casimero (boxing), Donnie Nietes (boxing), Sonny Boy Jaro (boxing), Baler Ravina (cycling), Mark Galedo (cycling), Tony Lascuna (pro golf), Dottie Ardina (amateur golf), Mark Caguioa (pro basketball), Bobby Ray Parks (amateur basketball), Dragon Boat team, Princess Joanna Mae Ylanan (karate), Hagdang Bato (horseracing), Jonathan Hernandez (horseracing), Mikaela Calamba (taekwondo), Vincent Floirendo (motorsports)

OUTSTANDING HIGH SCHOOL PLAYERS

Axel Toni Ngui, Kirsten Chloe Daos

NSAs OF THE YEAR

Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), National Golf Association of the Philippines (NGAP)

TONY SIDDAYAO AWARD

Albert Lim (tennis), Alieson Ken Omengan (wushu), Shania Mae Mendoza (chess), Charles Bonagua (karate), Alex Lay (karate), Jurence Mendoza (tennis), Princess Superal (golf), Jed Dy (golf), Malvinne Alcala (badminton), Mark Shelley Alcala (badminton), Mark Reggie Flores (motocross), Michael Christian Martinez (skating), Clark Cruz (powerlifting)

MR FOOTBALL

Chieffy Caligdong , Ed Sacapano

CITATIONS

Kenneth San Andres (motocross), Johnny Arcilla (tennis), men’s 4x4 relay team (athletics SEA Games gold medalists), Erlinda Lavandia (athletics), Jessie Aligaga, Denbert Arcita (wushu), Frankie Minoza (golf), Jayvee Agojo (golf), Monica Torres (triathlon), August Benedicto (triathlon), Mirasol Abad (duathlon), Oliver Barbosa (chess), Johan Aguilar (swimming), Raniel Resuello (superbikes), VJ Suba (karting), Alaska sports, AKTV

Follow the writer on Twitter: @spinph