THE ever-reliable disciplines of boxing, bowling, and billiards delivered anew for Philippine sports in the year just passed.
Ring champ Jerwin Ancajas, golden girl Krizziah Lyn Tabora, and cue master Carlo Biado came through with inspiring victories overseas in a showcase of world-class Filipino talent that brought pride and joy to the country.
For doing their share to make 2017 a memorable one, the three will be recognized with the highest accolade to be handed out during the SMC-PSA (Philippine Sportswriters Association) Annual Awards Night at the Maynila Hall of the Manila Hotel on Feb. 27.
Ancajas, Tabora, and Biado are all first time winners of the PSA Tapa King-Athlete of the Year award handed out by the country’s oldest media organization every year in the annual tradition presented by MILO and Cignal TV.
This marks the first time since 2015 that multiple awardees will be recognized for the Tapa King-Athlete of the Year honor. Boxers Nonito Donaire Jr. and Donnie Nietes, along with golfer Miguel Tabuena were the co-recipients of the coveted award three years ago.
“The PSA is proud to announce Jerwin Ancajas, Krizziah Tabora, and Carlo Biado as its Athletes of the Year for 2017. They are truly deserving of the award for the great honor they brought to the country with their respective victories in the world stage,” said PSA president and SPIN.ph editor Dodo Catacutan.
The usual honor list made up of the President’s Award, Executive Award, National Sports Association (NSA) of the Year, major awardees, among others, will also be given out during the formal ceremony which has the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) as major sponsor along with Mighty Sports, Rain or Shine, Globalport, and the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
Ancajas, 25, began 2017 with a bang after retaining his International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior bantamweight title with a seventh-round stoppage (technical decision) of Mexican Jose Alfredo Rodriguez in Macau last January.
The native of Panabo, Davao del Norte, who fights under the Manny Pacquiao Promotions, made two more successful title defenses against Teiru Kinoshita of Japan in Brisbane, Australia (6th round TKO) and previously unbeaten Irishman Jamie Conlan in Belfast, Ireland (6th round TKO) before the year ended.
Ancajas was later signed to a two-year, six-deal fight by Top Rank Promotions, whose founder and CEO Bob Arum dubbed him as the ‘next Pacquiao.’
Not to be outdone was Tabora, who bagged the 53rd QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup in Hermosillo, Mexico in early November and ended the country’s 14-year title drought in the showpiece.
The Filipina beat Siti Safiyah Amirah Abdul Rahman of Malaysia in the final, 236-191, to become the fifth Philippine bowler to rule the World Cup after the great Paeng Nepomuceno, the late Lita dela Rosa, Bong Coo, and CJ Suarez.
Less than two weeks before Christmas, Biado gifted the country with the World 9-Ball crown after defeating Ronald Garcia, 13-5, in an all-Filipino final in Doha, Qatar.
Biado, a gold medal winner in the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and winner of the same event in the World Games in Poland, joined the legendary Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes (1999), Alex Pagulayan (2004), Ronnie Alcano (2006), and the great Francisco ‘Django’ Bustamante (2010) as among the past Filipino winners of the event considered as the premier 9-ball tournament in the world.