MANILA – The Philippine Sports Hall of Fame (PSHOF) formally immortalized 10 Filipino sporting greats on Sunday in a glittering digital enshrinement ceremony that paid homage to their praiseworthy achievements.
No less than President Rodrigo Duterte honored the 4th batch of PSHOF enshrinees starring football hero Paulino Alcantara, basketball idol Robert Jaworski, famed swimmer Eric Buhain, track and field celebrity Elma Muros, and 1988 Olympic gold medalist Arianne Cerdeña of bowling.
Also joining them in the pantheon of Filipino sports heroes are Dionisio Calvo (basketball and football coach), Gertrudes Lozada (swimming), Rogelio Onofre (athletics), and Olympic bronze medalist boxers Leopoldo Serrantes and Roel Velasco.
“It is a great honor and privilege for me to congratulate the newest batch of sports icons that we enshrined into the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame. On behalf of a grateful nation, let me thank our athletes for bringing pride and honor to our country,’’ Duterte said during the first fully digital ceremony aired by PTV4.
“Through your dedication and excellence in your respective sports, let your achievements inspire the younger generation of Filipinos to work harder in their chosen fields so that one day they can make our nation proud as you have made us all proud,’’ he added.
Receiving the finely-crafted PSHOF trophy for Alcantara, hailed as the greatest Asian player in 2007 nearly a century since he made the country proud, was Miguel Angel Rocha, Alcantara’s great grandnephew.
Buhain, who saw action in the Olympics twice (1988 and 1992) and collected 13 gold medals in the Southeast Asian Games, shared insights for the next generation of athletes to achieve success while Jaworski, a multiple medalist in the international arena, continued to inspire others with his accomplishments.
“It’s a privilege that I’ve presided over the selection committee. It was not easy to decide who among our past heroes will be chosen. Not everyone can become a part of the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame,’’ Philippine Sports Commission Chairman William Ramirez said.
Ramirez, also chairman of PSHOF, said the new Sports Hall of Famers are “great examples” of the youth.
“They are living heroes and these heroes will have an impact on the lives of our children, the future of our country,’’ he added.
By virtue of Republic Act 8757 or the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame Act, the PSHOF Selection Committee is chaired by Ramirez as PSC chairman with Philippine Olympic Committee President Abraham Tolentino as vice chairperson.
“Their names will be forever remembered as Filipino heroes in the field of sports. These are our heroes who will become an inspiration to our youth for the sacrifices and the achievements that they contributed to the country,’’ Tolentino said.
Dionisio Calvo’s daughter Judy Calvo-Olson received the posthumous award for his father, who coached and steered the men’s national basketball team to its best performances in the Olympics -- fifth in the 1936 Berlin Games and 12th in 1948 London aside from a gold medal in the 1951 Asian Games.
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go said he will continue to push for measures that will help the development of the Filipino athletes to build the next generation of hall of famers.
“As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Sports, I assure you of my unrelenting and wholehearted support for our athletes and the entire sports community,” Go said in his message.
Cerdeña, Lozada, Muros-Posadas and Velasco likewise expressed gratitude for their enshrinement as well as Serrantes and Onofre through their family members. Abdul Bashir Onofre spoke on behalf of his dad while Leodiles Serrantes read the message of his ailing father.
Games and Amusements Board Chairman Abraham Mitra and national sports associations representatives Philippine Football Federation secretary general Atty. Ed Gastanes and PhilCycling secretary general Atty. Billy Sumagui served as members of the selection committee.
The Philippine Olympians Association president Akiko Thomson-Guevara and University Athletic Association of the Philippines executive director Atty. Rene Andrei Saguisag Jr. were also part of the Committee as private group representatives.
The 10 enshrinees received PHP200,000 each plus a well-crafted PSHOF trophy during the digital awarding ceremony produced and organized by the PSC.
The review committee is composed of media stalwarts Ed Andaya (People's Tonight), Joe Antonio (People's Journal), Rey Bancod (Tempo), Dodo Catacutan (Spin.ph), Quinito Henson (Philippine Star), Tessa Jazmines (Larc&Asset PR), Jun Lomibao (Business Mirror) and Tito Talao (Manila Bulletin). (PR)