PHILIPPINE sports is in mourning this Lenten Season following the passing of Cecil Hechanova, founding chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), on Holy Monday.
He was 84.
The non-playing captain of the Philippine team to the 1970 Putra Cup, Hechanova’s health had been deteriorating the past few years, although the cause of his death was undisclosed.
Hechanova comes from a family of sportsmen, his brother, cage great Rafael Hechanova, played for the Philippine men’s basketball team in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.
But he became more prominent as the first ever head of the PSC, the government sports agency created during the time of the late President Corazon Aquino in 1990.
“Chairman Hechanova will now be a part of our history in sports. He served our country well through sports,” said current PSC chairman Richie Garcia.
It was during his tenure as chairman that the country achieved a first-ever runner-up finish in the 1991 Southeast Asian Games held in Manila. Team Philippines lost the overall championship to Indonesia by a single gold, 92-91, in a campaign that became known as the ‘Miracle of 91.’
“His legacy is our winning second in the SEA Games,” added Garcia. "We will miss him.”
The country’s hosting of the 1992 Chess Olympiad won by Russia also took place when Hechanova was at the tail end of his three-year tenure in the sports agency.
Hechanova’s remains lie in state at the La Storta, 2nd floor of the Loyola Memorial Chapels in Sucat, Paranaque.
Interment will be on Black Saturday.