TWO current world champions, a rising gymnast, and gold-medal winners in the 2018 Asian Para Games lead the list of major awardees to be honored during the SMC-PSA (Philippine Sportswriters Association) Annual Awards Night on Feb. 26 at the Manila Hotel.
Reigning International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas, World Boxing Organization (WBO) counterpart Donnie Nietes, World Artistic Gymnastics Championships bronze medallist Carlos Yulo, and the Philippine Para Chess Team along with fellow Asian Para Games winners make up the bulk of the 23 major awardees who will be recognized by the country’s sportwriting fraternity during the event presented by MILO, Cignal TV, and the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
Ancajas defended his IBF 115-lb title three times last year, Nietes won the WBO belt just before the turn of 2019 in Japan, Yulo became the first Filipino and Southeast Asian male gymnast to win a medal in the world meet, while the Philippine Para Team finally broke through in the Asian Para Games by bagging a total of 10 gold medals in Indonesia.
Para swimmer Ernie Gawilan, Arthus Bucay (para cycling), Kim Ian Chi (para bowling), Sander Severino (para chess), and the Para Chess Team (Standard P1 men, Standard B2-B3 men, and Rapid B-1men are members of the national team that accomplished the country’s best finish yet in the quadrennial meet.
Also recipients of major awards in the event backed by the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), Rain or Shine, ICTSI, NorthPort, SM Prime Holdings, Tapa King, and Chooks To Go are Thirdy Ravena (amateur basketball), San Miguel Beer (pro basketball), Meggie Ochoa (jiu-jitsu), Christian Tio (kiteboarding), El Joshua Carino (cycling), Arnel Mandal (wushu), and the pair of Jannery Millet and Milo Rivera (motorsports).
Completing the list are Team Manila and Tanauan Little League (softball), Philippine dragon boat team, O’Neal Cortez (Jockey of the Year), and Sepfourteen (Horse of the Year).
A total of 75 awardees make up the 2018 honor toll list led by Athletes of the Year Hidilyn Diaz, Yuka Saso and fellow Philippine women’s golf team members Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go, and Margielyn Didal.
Bowling great Bong Coo and cycling champion Paquito Rivas are the year’s recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Meanwhile, bestowed with Special Awards are June Mar Fajardo (Mr Basketball), Marck Espejo (Mr Volleyball), Jaja Santiago (Ms Volleyball), and Neil Etheridge (Mr Football).
Olympian and bemedalled athlete Bea Lucero-Lhuillier will be the special guest speaker in the traditional awards night organized by the country’s oldest media organization.