THE ACCOLADES continue to pour in for surfer Roger Casugay.
Just a day after Casugay's gold medal win in men's longboarding, Team Philippines chef de mission William "Butch" Ramirez revealed on Monday morning that the La Union surfer would be the Philippines' flag bearer for the Southeast Asian Games' closing ceremonies.
The ceremonies will be held on December 11, in the New Clark City sports stadium.
"These Games are not only about medals," Ramirez said in a statement. "It is about character, resilience, love for one another and shoring up the faith of the person next to you, something that Casugay has exemplified."
He's referring to Casugay's now-legendary rescue of Indonesian surfer Arip "Mencos" Nurhidayat during the men's longboarding heat on Friday, December 6.
This action, Ramirez said in a statement yesterday, "has become the biggest story in the 30th Southeast Asian Games, perhaps even bigger than the athletes’ rash of golds in the first six days of competition."
In addition, the Philippine Sports Commission, which Ramirez also chairs, will offer a special plaque of recognition and an additional cash incentive.
"I will include Roger in our awarding in Malacañang to meet the President," added Ramirez.
For his part, Casugay has played down his actions, telling SPIN Life in an interview yesterday, “Normal na lang na tumulong kung ganun."
But no less than Indonesia's President Joko Widodo praised his act. In a tweet posted yesterday evening, he said (according to a Google translation): "Winning the competition and upholding sportsmanship is important, but humanity is above all."
Reports say that President Duterte has also invited Casugay for a meeting at Baguio City.