PHILIPPINE Sports Commission (PSC) chairman William “Butch” Ramirez cited the people behind Team Philippines who received a collective Athlete of the Year Award from the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) during the annual awards held Friday evening, March 6, at the Manila Hotel.
Team Philippine chef-de-mission Ramirez said, “Team Philippines deserved the highest recognition that brought honor and inspire the whole nation, that if we are united goal can be achieve through values and character.”
Hailed as PSA Executive of the Year, the PSC chief said, “It was a collective efforts of my deputy CDM, NSA officials, the POC especially our athletes whose heartaches and sacrifices are worth to be emulate and respect.”
He also said the award was not his alone, thus, he invited the PSC Commissioners to join him in claiming the PSA Award.
“I received the award with honor and pride as a Davaeno. Daghang salamat labi na kang (Thank you to) Presidente Duterte who believed in me during the trying moment of the SEAG 19 preparation. Mabuhay ang taga Davao!” he said.
PSC Commissioner Charles Raymond A. Maxey, in a Facebook interview yesterday, said:
“We are happy for Chairman Butch. He really worked hard for the success of the team. We were just there to help and see to it that all the athletes’ need and concerns were being addressed.”
Philippines topped the biennial games with a total harvest of 149 gold medals, 117 silvers and 120 bronzes.
PSC Commissioner Celia Kiram, meanwhile, lauded the team, saying, “Congratulations Team PH! We all win as one as number 1! We’re so proud of you! Well deserved PSA athlete of the year!”
Davao region athletes contributed about seven gold medals, six silvers and six bronzes to help lift Philippines’ dominating victory in the biennial meet, smashing its 2005 overall haul of 112 golds, 85 silvers and 93 bronzes.
SEA Games boxing gold medalist Charly Suarez, who hails from Sawata, Davao del Norte, said, “Thankful kaayo ko sa atong Ginoo (I’m so thankful to our God).”
Davao City’s SEA Games sambo gold medalist Chino Sy Tancontian, in a separate Facebook interview, said, “Ganda po nung plaque and sobrang prestigious po nung award and I am very thankful na naka-receive po kami ng ganon. I’m sure po na my fellow athletes feel the same way po.”
Also feted during the PSA Awards were the SEA Games gold medalists, legendary cue artist Efren “Bata” Reyes (Lifetime Achievement Award), Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (National Sports Association of the Year with seven Filipino boxers bagging SEA Games golds and Nesthy Petecio winning featherweight Aiba Women’s World title and Eumir Marcial clinching silver in the International Boxing Association (Aiba) World Championships) and World Floor Exercise Champion Gymnast Carlos Yulo (President’s Awards), among others.
Former Davao City standout Petecio, meanwhile, said, “Nanalo man po o talo deserve namin mga athlete ang maparangalan ng athlete of the year. Dahil sa nagdaang SEA Games po, nakita at naramdaman po natin ang pagkakaisa ng bawat atleta, officials at mga sambayanang pilipino para makuha ang pagiging number one po. Thankful and blessed po ako na naging isang Pilipinong atleta ako. More blessing to us po mga atletang Pilipino. Mabuhay po tayong lahat!”
Petecio and Marcial along with other boxers are currently in Amman, Jordan vying for Tokyo 2020 Olympic berths.
Abap executive director Ed Picson, in an e-mail to this writer, said Abap is honored to again receive the PSA recognition.
“It underscores the hard work, sacrifice and patriotism of our boxers, coaches, support staff and our benefactors. This was a collective effort and that always works,” he said.
However, he said there is still much to be done but he assured, “Our leadership, from Chairman Manny V. Pangilinan, President Ricky Vargas, down to all the rest of us in Abap, pledge to strive even more for national pride and glory.”