THE heroes and stars of Philippine sports in the year just passed get their due on Saturday when the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) holds its traditional Awards Night presented by MILO and San Miguel Corp.
Two world boxing champions and a rising golf star who scored his breakthrough win in the rich Asian Tour circuit, lead the long list of awardees to be feted on this night of reminiscing and celebration at the One Esplanade in Pasay City.
World Boxing Organization (WBO) super-bantamweight title holder Nonito Donaire Jr., long-reigning WBO light-flyweight champ Donnie Nietes, and Asian Tour winner Miguel Tabuena star in the two-hour program on the eve of Valentine’s Day as the three Athletes of the Year awardees by the country’s oldest media organization under president Riera Mallari, sports editor of The Standard.
For the 33-year-old Donaire, it will be the fourth time he’ll be recognized with the same honor, having won it in 2007, 2011, and 2012, while Nietes, 33, and Tabuena, 21, are both first-time winners of the award.
Fellow athletes, executives, and officials are expected to lead the local sporting community in feting all of the awardees, numbering 111 in all.
Quinito Henson and Patricia Bermudez-Hizon are hosting the program that starts at 7:30 p.m. and which has the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) as major sponsor and supported by longtime friends of sports such as Smart, MVP Foundation, Maynilad, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., Philippine Basketball Association, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office/Philracom, Accel, Sen. Chiz Escudero, SM Prime Holdings, Rain or Shine, Globalport, National University, and One Esplanade.
The spotlight is also expected to fall on Gilas Pilipinas, which will be the recipient of the President’s Award, and Alaska chief executive officer and president Wilfred Uytengsu Jr., who is the choice as Executive of the Year.
Uytengsu, a former member of the national swimming team and now an active triathlete, will also address the sports community as guest speaker of the two-hour formal rites.
Other special awards to be given out are the Lifetime Achievement trophy to baseball and softball great Filomeno ‘Boy’ Codinera, the National Sports Association of the Year to the Wushu Federation of the Philippines, Mr. Basketball to the exciting duo of Terrence Romeo and Calvin Abueva, and Ms. Volleyball to superstar Alyssa Valdez.
Top achievers in their respective fields will be the recipient of major awards led by San Miguel Beer main man June Mar Fajardo.
The gold medalists in the 28th Southeast Asian Games and ASEAN Para Games top the long list of those to be given out with citations, while eight departed friends of Philippine sports will be honored with posthumous awards.
Nine young personalities make up the year’s newest batch of Tony Siddayao awardees, who are going to be joined by youthful Justine Kobe Macario and Kyla Soguilon, recipients of the MILO Junior Male and Female Athlete of the Year, respectively.
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Awardees and guests who personally fail to get their invitations may get theirs at the lobby of One Esplanade.