Congratulations to Cebu’s very own, Fr. Vicente Uy, for being appointed yesterday as the Executive Director of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).Next to PSC Chairman Butch Ramirez, his position wields the most power. But Fr. Vic, one of the humblest people I’ve met, is not overawed. In an interview, he told Manila Bulletin’s Nick Giongco: “I don’t look at it as a position of power.”
At 7:15 p.m. yesterday, I got the chance to talk to Fr. Vic for a few minutes. I congratulated him and asked how his day went. “It’s only my second day so, as expected, I was very busy,” he said over the phone. “I’m at the airport now to welcome our SEA Games athletes who are returning home.”
I’ve known Fr. Vic Uy for many years now and it’s hard to find a nicer person. Here in Cebu, he yielded influence. At the University of San Carlos, he held one of the school’s highest positions as VP for Finance. To relinquish his role, he sought the permission of USC President Fr. Rod Salazar. “I asked for a ‘leave of absence’ from USC,” I recall Fr. Vic, 58, telling me a few months back. “And good thing my colleagues at USC understood my mission to help RP sports.”
Here in Cebu, apart from his huge responsibility at USC, he was regional head of the PSC. During the 23rd SEA Games two years ago, he was overall chairperson of the Volunteers Committee.
Fr. Vic Uy’s favorite sport? Tennis. I got the chance to play doubles with him a few times. Once, at the USC Main Campus court, we rallied against the pride of USC, the Siso siblings (Nino, Sally Mae, and Sally Dine). On another occasion, we played doubles at the Casino Español. I remember that as memorable because we came from behind (trailing 4-7, I believe) before winning in a tiebreak.
When asked by Nick Giongco if he’s aware of his big responsibility at the PSC, Fr. Vic responded in his usual no-nonsense but effective way: “As long as you uphold the law and do what is right, I don’t see any problem that will come our way.”
How about saying Mass? Is he still allowed?
“Under normal circumstances,” wrote Giongco, “Uy is not allowed to celebrate Mass but he is armed with a document from the head of the Catholic Church to continue holding services ‘only for the athletes.’”
And so celebrate mass he did for the athletes. “When I was in Thailand, I held Mass for three straight days with the athletes and officials,” said Fr. Vic. “The first was on the first Friday of the month (Dec. 7), Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8) and Sunday (Dec. 9) in the presence of athletes, coaches and officials from the PSC and POC.”
For with Fr. Vic Uy, the PSC has one man with many talents: a proven leader, trustworthy servant, tennis-loving athlete, and, best of all, RP sports’ spiritual adviser.