A FORMER member of the Philippine team who went on to become one of the country’s most prominent businessmen will be honored with a special award by the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) during its February 13 Annual Awards Night presented by San Miguel and MILO at the One Esplanade.
Wilfred Uytengsu Jr., chief executive officer and president of Alaska, is the recipient of the Executive of the Year award from the country’s oldest media organization for his involvement in the promotion and development of various sports, ranging from basketball, triathlon, to football.
At the same time, the billionaire businessman will also address the local sports community and his fellow awardees, led by Athletes of the Year Donnie Nietes, Nonito Donaire Jr., and Miguel Tabuena, as guest speaker of the formal rites that honor the best and brightest in Philippine sports in the year just passed.
“It’s with great honor and pride for the Philippine Sportswriters Association to pay tribute to a true sportsman in Mr. Wilfred Uytengsu Jr.. By bestowing upon him the Executive of the Year award, the country’s sportswriting community couldn’t think of any better person of integrity deserving of the award than him,” said PSA president Riera Mallari of the Manila Standard.
As Executive of the Year, Uytengsu is in great company as past recipients of the award include Manny V. Pangilinan, Hans Sy, Ricky Vargas, Dan Palami, and Chito Salud.
The gala night to be hosted by Quinito Henson and Patricia Bermudez-Hizon starts at 7 p.m. with the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) as major sponsor and supported by longtime friends of sports such as Smart, MVP Foundation, Maynilad, SM Prime Holdings, Sen. Chiz Escudero, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., Philippine Basketball Association, Globalport, Rain or Shine, One Esplanade, and National University.
A graduate of University of Southern California with a Bachelors degree in Business Administration, Uytengsu was a one-time national athlete as part of the Philippine men’s swimming team and competed in several international meets, including the 1981 Southeast Asian Games here in Manila.
At 23 and his stint with the national team over, Uytengsu began working at Alaska Milk Corp., founded by his late father, Wilfred Sr., in 1972. It was also the Uytengsu patriarch who commissioned his son on the feasibility of forming a basketball franchise which went to become one of the most accomplished in the 41-year history of the pro league, including winning a rare grand slam in 1996.
He would later on support other sports such as triathlon and football. Uytengsu was responsible for bringing in the highly-popular Ironman Triathlon and Ironkids, organized the Alaska Football and Power camps, and forged a tie-up with the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Philippines.
Just last year, he unequivocally lent no less than his head coach Alex Compton and players to the national team as Calvin Abueva, Dondon Hontiveros, and Sonny Thoss suited up for Gilas Pilipinas team which finished a surprising runner-up to China in the FIBA Asia Men’s Championship.
Abueva and another teammate in Vic Manuel also reinforced the Philippine 3x3 team that competed in the FIBA 3x3 World Tour in Abu Dhabi.
Abueva and Co. get to share the limelight with Uytengsu during the formal affair as Gilas Pilipinas will be honored with the President’s Award.