A Night To Remember by Jonas Panerio (Feb. 20)
Cebu’s best and the brightest athletes mingled with the country’s most prized sporting hero, boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, in what was an unforgettable night at the 27th Sportswriters Association of Cebu-San Miguel Corporation (SAC-SMC) All-Cebu Sports Awards Wednesday evening at the Casino Espanol ballroom.
Pacquiao, who was just conferred the honorary degree of “Doctor of Humanities” (Honoris Causa) by the Southwestern University (SWU) earlier that evening, arrived at the event along with his wife, Jinky, and business partner Rex “Wakee” Salud. He then receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for his spectacular exploits in the ring, which has brought great honor to the country.
He inspired the athletes even further by ceaselessly posing for pictures and signing autographs and even volunteered to give the plaques and the trophies to all the awardees, including basketball’s major winner, Gregory Slaughter of the University of the Visayas (UV) Green Lancers.
“Salamat kaayo sa inyong suporta ug hinaut unta suportahan ko ninyo sa akong laban karon Mayo. Mabuhi kamong lahat ug mabuhi ang Cebu,” said Pacquiao in his brief statement to the assembled crowd.
He was introduced by SAC-SMC guest speaker, Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) chairman and Bacolod City Congressman Monico Puentevella, who animatedly recounted his many experiences with the “People’s Champ” in their travels to the 2008 Beijing Olympics and most recently, to Las Vegas in December of last year for Pacquiao’s fight with the “Golden Boy” Oscar dela Hoya.
3 CHAMPS IN ONE ROOF??Wednesday’s gathering was extra special as it actually gathered three boxing world champions under one roof.
World Boxing Organization bantamweight champion Gerry Penalosa was on hand to receive the Athlete of the Year award while International Boxing Federation flyweight champion Nonito Donaire was also present to support Penalosa, who also happens to be his trainer for his upcoming fight against the undefeated Raul Martinez on March 22 at the Araneta Coliseum.
Sportsman of the Year awardee, Jonathan “Maxi” Maximo also gave a fitting tribute to Cebu’s sportswriters in his response on behalf of all the awardees that evening. ??“You know, if I’d ask you, who was the Sportsman of the Year awardee during the 4th SAC Awards? Probably you don’t know anymore. And same goes with me 20 years from now. People will forget about it but I will not forget the people whom I met along this journey and the people I worked with at Cebu Football Association (CFA) and people like you, the sportswriters, who helped us develop talents and sports here,” he said in the windup of the grandiose event.