TEN of the country’s greatest athletes in the past seven decades, led by two-time Asia’s fastest woman Lydia de Vega and World Cup bowling champion Paeng Nepomuceno, will be honored tonight by the Philippine Sports Commission in the third enshrinement of the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC)
PSC Chairman William Ramirez will lead the colorful awarding ceremony, along with PSC commissioners Arnold Agustin, Ramon Fernandez, Celia Kiram and Charles Maxey will also be on hand.
“This is a good opportunity for all of us to pay tribute to these 10 great athletes of their generations. Sa dami ng karangalan na ibinigay nila sa ating bayan, they deserve this recognition,” said Ramirez. “We also hope that they would be able to inspire our youth and be a role model to the children.”
Ramirez said the new batch of Hall of Famers will receive an incentive worth P100,000 and a trophy to commemorate their enshrinement.
Aside from De Vega and Nepomuceno, also making it to the Hall of Fame are basketball great Ambrosio Padilla, baseball legend Filomeno “Boy” Codiñera, bowling champions Olivia “Bong” Coo and Lita de la Rosa, golf giant Ben Arda, track and field star Josephine de la Vina, basketball hero Loreto Carbonell and boxing champion Erbito Salavarria.
Padilla, the team captain of the Philippine basketball team which finished fifth in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and Codiñera, the first Filipino player to be cited in the Guinness Book of Word Records after hitting seven consecutive doubles in the 1968 Men’s Softball World Championship in Oklahoma, will be honored posthumously.
De Vega was Asia’s fastest woman in 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi, India; while Nepomuceno is the winningest Filipino bowler in history with four World Cup titles in 1976, 1980, 1992 and 1996.
Padilla is long considered as the Father of Philippine basketball after the establishment of the Basketball Association of the Phililippines (BAP) in 1936, and Codiñera is best remembered for his grand slam home run against Mexico during the 1972 Men’s Softball World Championship in Marikina.
Coo was a gold medal winner in the 1978 Asian Games in Thailand and World FIQ in 1979 in Manila; De la Rosa topped the World Cup in Bogota, Colombia in 1978; and Arda emerged as Asia Golf Circuit champion in 1970 and World Cup qualifier 16 times.