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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