Oscar Night

November 26, 2018

QUINITO  Henson, the   ‘Dean’  himself and the master of ceremony, called it the Oscar of  Philippine sports.

Understandably, all those present during the  3rd Philippine Sports Commission  (PSC) Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at the world-class Philippine Internatiomal Convention  last Nov. 22 readily agree with Henson. And even those who failed to make it would not dare to disagree.

To some, it was a casting coup by the OSC in much the same way when Star Cinema assembles a smorgasbord of stars for its anniversary movie treat.

Two-time Asian track and field  queen Lydia de Vega was there with lovely daughter Stephanie.

Bowling legends Paeng Nepomuceno and  Bong Coo were there, too, with their families.

Boxing hero Erbito Salavarria who held both WBC and WBA flyweight belts during his prime, was also around.

Also present were the families and  close friends of Sen. Ambrosio Padilla (basketball), Filomeno  “Boy"Codinera (baseball/softball), Josephine dela Vina (athletics), Loreto Carbonell (basketball), Benjamin  Arda (golf) and Lita dela Rosa (bowling), who were also posthumously inducted.

The PSC,  headed  by Chairman William "Butch"  Ramirez,  and Commissioners Ramon Fernandez,  Charles Maxey,  Arnold Agustin and Celia Kiram; the Philippine Olympic Committee , headed by President Ricky Vargas; and Philippine Olympian Association,  led by Akiko Thomson-Guevarra;  and the  Games and Amusement Board,  led  by Chairman  Abraham  “Baham" Mitra were  also present.

Even officials and members of the  Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) and the Tabloid Organization in Philippine Sports  (TOPS) were there to toast the athletes and their achievements in the wonderful world of sports.

De Vega,  who flew in fron Singapore to personally receive her Hall of Fame trophy,  said it all:

“Hindi madali ang maging atleta, hindi madali na magwagi. Hindi madali ang gawin lahat ng mga bagay na magiging dahilan para mapabilang ka sa mga katangi-tanging atleta na pararangalan ng ganito.”

“Masaya  ako na mapabilang sa Hall of Fame. Salamat ako ay inyong napili,” added De Vega, who claimed she made it sure to come  home and receive the  award personally.

The Singapore-based De Vega  considers being member of the Hall of Fame as one of the best awards she has  received as an athlete.

Said  Nepomuceno, a  recipient of many awards local  and abroad: “It is an  honor to be recognized in your own country  by your own people.”

Coo,  who has won  a total o f 79  medals and  trophies, thanked her family  who introduced her  to the  sport during a  “trying  time in her life.”

De Vega, Nepomuceno, Coo  and  Salavarria and the  six other athletes enshrined with  them will join a  distinguished group  of Hall of  Famers which now has 37 inducted awardees since it was first held in 2010.

In his speech, Ramirez congratulated all the  awardees and extolled  the virtues of hard work and dedication.

“It  is love  for sports and country  that  makes someone  a  legend,” said  Ramirez during the well-attended event.

The Philippine  Sports Hall of Fame was created by virtue of Republic Act 8757 signed by then  President  Estrada last Nov. 25, 1999.

The past Hall of Fame  enshrinees are:

First batch  (May ,  2010) -- Simeon Toribio (athletics), Miguel White  (athletics), Carlos Loyzaga (basketball), Ceferino Garcia (boxing), Gabriel Elorde (boxing), Jose Villanueva (boxing) Pancho Villa (boxing), Anthony Villanueva  (boxing), Teofilo Yldefonso  (swimming) and the 1954 Philippine  men’s basketball team.

Second batch (January, 2016) --  Inocencia Solis (athletics), Isaac Gomez  (athletics), Mona Sulaiman (Athletics), Ed Ocampo (basketball), Kurt Bachmann (basketball),  Mariano Tolentino (basketball), Eugene Torre (chess), Raymundo Deyro (tennis), Jonny Jose (tennis),  Felicisimo Ampon (tennis), Adolfo Feliciano (shooting), Martin Gison (shooting), Ral Rosario (swimming), Mohammad  Mala (swimming), Jacinto Cayco (swimming), Haydee Coloso-Espino (swimming)  and  Salvador del Rosario (weightlifting).

NOTES -- A big part of the  success of this year’s  3rd  Hall of  Fame  Enshrinement  Ceremony  is  due to  the  hard work  and efforts of  the  PSC staff: Anna  Christine  Abellana  (Head,  Secretariat),  Michelle Balunan (Archives Assistant), Rovilyn  Gofredo  (Information System  Assistant),  Emmalyn Bamba  (PSC PCO  Head); Rachel Dumuk (ACD Assistant), Cesar Cordero Jr.  (Administrative Assistant) and  Elizabeth Agulan (Special Disbursing Officer).

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