A CELEBRATION honoring the greatness and exploits of Filipino athletes will be staged in a special two-week event at the Resorts World Hotel.
Dubbed 'Pagpupugay sa 100 Taon ng PHL Sports,' the June 1-15 event serves as a tribute to 19 heroes of Philippine sports who made the country proud by leaving their mark in the world stage for the past 100 years.
Two of those to be honored, bowling great Rafael `Paeng’ Nepomuceno and Asia’s first Grandmaster Eugene Torre, were at the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Forum at Shakey’s Malate on Tuesday accompanied by sports broadcaster Chino Trinidad, the man behind the noble project.
“We’ll celebrate their greatness dahil ang DNA ng kagitingan ng mga Filipino ay di nagbabago,” said Trinidad, seated beside two of the greatest Filipino athletes of all-time during the session presented by Accel, Shakey’s, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
“Advocacy nating mga Pilipino ito. This is not my event. This is the event of us Filipinos.”
Aside from Nepomuceno and Torre, others to be feted are booter Paulino Alcantara, Olympic heroes Teofilo Yldefonso, Simeon Toribio, and Miguel White, tennis great Felicisimo Ampon, golfer Ben Arda, bowlers Lita Dela Rosa, Arianne Cerdena, and Bong Coo, pool legend Efren `Bata’ Reyes, basketball star Caloy Loyzaga, and boxers Anthony Villanueva, Mansueto `Onyok’ Velasco, Pancho Villa, Ceferino Garcia, Gabriel `Flash’ Elorde, and Manny Pacquiao.
A special trophy made and designed by renowned Filipino sculptor Joe Datuin, who was also present in the same forum, will be given away to all the honorees.
“Bakit 19 lang, na kung tutuusin hihigit pa sa 200 daan ang puwede natin bigyang pugay? Let’s quantify it na kung sino lang 'yung nag-make ng mark in the world level ang siyang panimulang sinama natin. Kaya kung mapapansin ninyo, bowling at boxing ay may mga multiple entries,” stressed Trinidad, the former commissioner of the Philippine Basketball League.
Starting June 1, photos and memorabilia of Filipino heroes will be displayed at the lobby of the Resorts World Hotel, while a gala night celebrating the deeds of all 19 awardees will cap the celebration on June 12, Independence Day.
“Sa June 12 ang Gabi ng Pagpupugay, because we want a different take on how we will celebrate Independence Day,” said Trinidad.
Both Nepomuceno, the only player to win the World Cup four times in three different decades, and Torre lauded Trinidad for taking the cue to honor the accomplishments of Filipino athletes both past and present.
“Importante ito to educate the Filipino people and to inspire the youth,” said the 57-year-old Nepomuceno, hailed as the Greatest International Bowler of All-Time by the Bowlers International Journal and whose seven-foot image can be found at the entrance of the International Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum in Arlington, Texas.
“Ang pagpupugay ay isang timeline ng Philippine sports from the very start, at malaking bagay ang magagawa nito in contributing to Philippine sports.”