Athletes and sports leaders who joined the great beyond last year will be remembered in the SMC-PSA (Philippine Sportswriters Association) Annual Awards Night on Feb. 26 at the Centennial Hall of the Manila Hotel.
Olympians Ian Lariba, Danny Florencio, and Leopoldo Cantacio along with former PBA Commissioner and Chairman Rey Marquez are among those to be paid homage by the country’s sportswriting fraternity in the special event presented by MILO, Cignal TV, and the Philippine Sports Commission.
Lariba was the country’s first female table tennis player to qualify in the Olympics, representing the Philippines during the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Games, while Florencio, the electrifying, high-flying guard from University of Santo Tomas, was part of the last men’s basketball team to compete in the Olympiad during the 1972 Games in Munich.
Cantancio, from the boxing hotbed of Bago, Negros Occidental, was a two-time Olympian who saw action in the 1984 (Los Angeles) and 1988 (Seoul, South Korea) Summer Games.
Marquez, meanwhile, was the fourth commissioner of Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league, who also served as a chairman of the PBA Board representing Formula Shell.
Others who passed away in 2018, but certainly won’t be forgotten were national players Johnny Revilla and Jerome Cueto, PBA players Joey Mente and Ulysses Tanigue, basketball coach Jun Tiongco, college cage player Rutger Acidre, former boxing association president Roilo Golez, sportswriter and broadcaster Barry Pascua, sports Rolly Manlapaz, volleyball player Maria Josefina Referente-Palad, and young wushu training pool member Rastafari Daraliay.
A prayer and moment of silence will be offered to them during the affair organized by the country’s oldest media organization in partnership with the Philippine Basketball Association, Mighty Sports, SM Prime Holdings, Tapa King, Rain or Shine, NorthPort, and Chooks To Go.
Olympic silver medallist Hidilyn Diaz, golfers Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan, and Lois Kaye Go, and skateboarder Margielyn Didal lead the total 75 awardees to be honored in the annual event. The five ladies are the co-recipients of the coveted Athlete of the Year award.