LEOPOLDO Serantes will be the first beneficiary of the Anthony Villanueva Trust Fund, which was put up by some of the country's top sports heroes and named after the country’s first Olympic silver medalist.
A seed money of P50,000 has been donated to set up the fund and part of it will be given to Serantes, a bronze medalist in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.
Serantes is still recovering from a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and restricted to a wheelchair but was able to join other Filipino sports greats in the ‘Pagpupugay sa 100 Taon ng Philippine Sports’ gala on Thursday.
'Pagpupugay' proponent Chino Trinidad said Ever Bilena owner Dioceldo Sy contributed the P50,000, while boxing promoter Antonio Aldeguer donated an undisclosed amount.
“I know Serantes needed the money badly for his medicines and everything,” said Trinidad, a veteran sports broadcaster and Spin.ph columnist. “I hope we can come up with something through this fund.”
The trust fund was named after Villanueva, who won the silver medal in the 1968 Tokyo Olympics. He recently died in his sleep due to a lingering illness at the age of 69.
In an emotional moment during ‘Pagpupugay,’ Villanueva’s wife Josephine wept as she received an award honoring the boxer as one of the 19 finest athletes in Philippine history.
“Namatayan na ako ng Anthony Villanueva. Ayoko na maulit,” said Trinidad, saying Villanueva inspired him to set up the trust fund.