Cebu Sports Awards

Now on its 37th edition, the Sportswriters Association of Cebu (SAC), of which I’m the current president, will be honoring Cebu’s top athletes today. 

If you’re free, please join us at the SM City Cebu this afternoon from 2 to 5 p.m. (at the Lower Ground Floor across The Rib Shack restaurant). 

Mary Joy Tabal will lead the invocation. The PADS (Philippine Accessible Disability Service) Dragonboat Team will kick off the festivities with an opening number. 

Ms. Brianna Leverenz, a top-notch American swimmer and the sister of Olympic bronze medalist Caitlin Leverenz, will provide the inspirational message. 

Wilbert Aunzo and Pearl Marie Caneda will render a dance number and show the crowd how they won multiple gold medals in the recent Southeast Asian Games.

Over 155 athletes representing most of our major sports — from Arnis to Boxing to Cycling to E-sports to Jiujitsu to Scrabble to Taekwondo to Volleyball; plus many, many more sports — will be recognized today.

Is the event open to the public for free? Absolutely. This annual honoring used to be exclusive. It started at the “1521” diner inside the San Miguel Brewery in Mandaue. Over a decade ago, it was held in the posh ballrooms of Casino Español and GrandCon. But the sportswriters, several years ago, decided to make this occasion open for all to see.

Thus, through the years, we’ve had the best of the best in Cebu sports climb the stage and be recognized for all to see. 

I remember Matteo Guidicelli, long before he became famous as an actor, receiving an award as a youngster for his exploits as a go-kart racer. He was about 12 years old then we he received the SAC-SMB Award.

Donnie Nietes. Z Gorres. Michael Aldeguer. Antonio Aldeguer. Michel Lhuillier. Jonathan Guardo. Ricky Ballesteros. Boojie Lim. Felix Tiukinhoy. Edward Hayco. These are a few of the luminaries who received the highest of honors in previous SAC awards.

Manny Pacquiao, then a full-time boxer, graced our event in 2009. He was mobbed by the athletes and parents. POC Chairman Monico Puentevella also rendered a song that night.   

Cebu City Councilor Dondon Hontiveros has been a recipient of the basketball award for many years. This afternoon, he’ll be joining us as one of the city’s top officials. 

Special thanks goes to Ms. Girlie Garces, the Corporate Communication Officer of San Miguel Brewery, Inc. Through the years, SAC has partnered with SMB in organizing this activity.

The Athlete of the Year? That one person (or team) that shone brightest in the past year? Who will the winner be?

I know the answer. But you’ll have to attend today’s activity to find out. 

Happening only once a year — or once every four years since today is February 29 — see you later from 2 to 5 p.m. at the SM City Cebu.

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