TWO former sportswriters who carved a name for themselves in other fields share a memorable evening with Filipino athletes and sports personalities when the SMC-PSA (Philippine Sportswriters Association) Annual Awards is held next month at the Maynila Hall of the Manila Hotel.
Department of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Pinol and Philippine Journalists Inc. editor-in-chief Augusto ‘Gus’ Villanueva will be among the top luminaries gracing the Feb. 27 event staged by the country’s oldest media organization.
Pinol will be the special guest speaker of the two-hour, formal rite presented by MILO and Cignal TV representing President Duterte, while Villanueva is going to be the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the very same group he once served as president.
“It’s a huge honor for the PSA to acknowledge and recognize two former sports writing colleagues who rose from the ranks to become the distinguished personalities they are known today,” said PSA president Dodo Catacutan of SPIN.ph.
Pinol and Villanueva will be there to join the country’s sports writing fraternity in honoring the best of 2017 led by boxer Jerwin Ancajas, bowler Krizziah Lyn Tabora, and billiards player Carlo Biado, who will be the recipients of the PSA-Tapa King Athlete of the Year awards during the ceremony which counts the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) as its major sponsor, and is backed by Mighty Sports, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), Globalport, and Rain or Shine.
Before he went full-time into public service in 1995, Pinol worked as senior copy editor and sports columnist of the tabloid Tempo. He was also a popular boxing analyst on television, and served as editor of the Philippine News Agency for four years.
A product of University of Southern Mindanao, he began his media career in 1976 as a disc jockey for DXCM, the radio station of the University of Mindanao, and later, as radio journalist and news writer at DXMS in Cotabato City.
Pinol first entered government service as public relations officer of the National Grains Authority in 1978 and once served as writer for Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan III and President Ramos.
He ran and won as mayor in 1995 as substitute to his father, former Cotabato provincial board member Bernardo Pinol Sr. in their hometown of M’Lang, Cotabato. Three years after, he was elected provincial governor, a position he held for three consecutive terms, before he became vice governor in 2007 when he was barred from seeking another term.
In 2016, Pinol was appointed by President Duterte as secretary of agriculture.
Villanueva is just as distinguished.
Fondly called Gus in media circles, Villanueva began as a sportswriter in 1955 at the young age of 17 under then Manila Times sports editor Ricky Llanos. Among his great contemporary was the late sports editor Tony Siddayao, acknowledged as the dean of Philippine sports writing.
Villanueva was an original of the defunct Times Journal, which hit the streets a month after Martial Law was declared in 1972 and where he served as sports editor. He was also at the helm when popular tabloids People’s Journal and People’s Tonight were established in 1978 and 1979, respectively.
He was also president of the PSA in the late 70s and was the first to introduce the weekly PSA Forum.
Currently, he is publisher and editor in-chief of the Journal Group of publications.
Villanueva is in great company as recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the PSA, whose past winners include Grandmaster Eugene Torre, the 1973 Philippine men’s basketball team, cage icons Carlos Loyzaga, Carlos Padilla, and Virgilio ‘Baby’ Dalupan, and baseball great Filomeno ‘Boy’ Codinera, among others.