LYDIA De Vega-Mercado, Rafael ‘Paeng’ Nepomuceno, and Olivia ‘Bong’ Coo led the newest batch of inductees into the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame.
Filomeno ‘Boy’ Codiñera, Ambrosio Padilla, Ben Arda, Loreto Carbonell, Josephine dela Vina, Lita dela Rosa, and Erbito Salavarria also made it to the third batch of enshrines following deliberations done by the screening committee led by Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez.
Ramirez said 37 athletes and coaches were nominated by the public, after which the list was pruned down to 16. The 10 Hall of Famers were finalized by the screening committee on Friday.
“It was not easy for us to select the 10 Hall of Famers for this third batch,” said Ramirez during a press conference on Friday.
Ramirez said the Hall of Fame induction ceremony is tentatively scheduled on November 22 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). The Hall of Famers will receive a trophy and P100,000.
De Vega-Mercado was dubbed as ‘Asia’s Sprint Queen’ after winning Asian Games gold in the 100-meter run in the 1982 and 1986 editions. Nepomuceno won four bowling World Cups, while Coo is a four-time world champion in the sport.
Codiñera played in the baseball and softball national teams most notably for the Blu Boys squas that finished fourth in the 1968 World Championship.
Padilla was a member of the first-ever Philippine men’s basketball team that finished fifth in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. He later became a senator and the president of both the Philippine Amateur Athletic Federation and the Philippine Olympic Committee.
Arda was a three-time Philippine Open golf champion, a four-time winner on the Japan Tour who later played in The Masters and The Open Championship, earning him the nickname ‘Bantam Ben.’
Carbonell was a member of the Philippine team that won the bronze medal in the 1954 World Championship - still the highest finish by an Asian country in the history of the world championship of basketball.
Dela Vina is a discus thrower who captured a gold medal in the 1966 Asian Games, while dela Rosa achieved a rare feat by winning the World Cup and the World Championship in bowling in successive years in 1978 and 1979.
Salavarria was a professional boxer who won the World Boxing Council and the World Boxing Association flyweight belts in the 1970s. He amassed a record of 40 wins (11 knockouts), 11 losses, and three draws.
The members of the screening committee are Philippine Olympic Committee representative Ed Picson, Games and Amusement Board representative Dioscoro Bautista, national sports associations representatives Bernie Atienza and Pearl Managuelod, Philippine Olympian Association representative Akiko Thomson-Guevara and Philippine Sportswriters Association president Eduardo Catacutan of SPIN.ph.
“It was not easy to come up with 10 because there are so many deserving athletes. However, I’d like to point out that the nomination process involved the public nominating the athletes that they felt should be enshrined to the Hall of Fame,” Picson said.
Ted Melendres of the Philippine Daily Inquirer was the chairman of the review committee.