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.

All Stars

The NBA All-Star Weekend was a huge and spectacular success in Cebu a couple of weeks ago.

This Saturday, February 29, our own version of the All Stars will be happening.

Named the 37th SAC-SMB Cebu Sports Awards, over 150 of Cebu’s top athletes (based on their accomplishments last year) will be honored. Calling on all awardees (below), see you this Feb. 29 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Northwing of the SM City Cebu.

Here are the honorees:

MAJOR AWARDEES: Arnis (Dexter Bolambao); Archery (Aldrener Ygot); Athletics (Mary Joy Tabal and Natalie Rose Uy); Basketball (Junemar Fajardo and Greg Slaughter); Billiards (Rubilen Amit); Bowling (Alexis Sy); Boxing (Johnriel Casimero); Chess (Jerish Velarde); Cycling (Nino Surban); Dancesport (Wilbert Aunzo and Pearl Marie Caneda); Dragonboat (PADS Dragonboat Racing Team); Golf (Lois Kaye Go); E-Sports (Team Adroit Dota: Marvin Rushton, John Anthony Vargas, Bryle Jacob Alvizo, Jun Kanehara, MC Nicholson Villanueva and coach Paolo Bago); Gymnastics (Daniela De la Pisa); Judo (Kiyomi Watanabe); Karatedo (Sarah Pangilinan); Karting (William Go); Motorsport (Team Toyota Cebu and Daniel Miranda); Obstacle course racing/OCR (Sherwin Manangil); Rugby Football (Aumi Ono); Sepak Takraw (Metodio Suico and Jean Marie Sucalit); Shooting (Ditto Nestor Dinopol and Diogenes Avila); Skateboarding (Margielyn Didal and Daniel Ledermann); Softball (Mary Ann Antolihao); Swimming (James Deiparine); Table Tennis (Richard Gonzales); Taekwondo (Rinna Babanto and Aidaine Laxa); Triathlon (Andrew Kim Remolino); Volleyball (Cherry Ann Rondina); Wakeboarding (Raphael Trinidad); Weightlifting (Elreen Ann Ando and John Februar Ceniza).

CITATION AWARDEES: Arnis (Jude Oliver Marie Rodriguez); Athletics (Dr. Yong Larrazabal, Noel Tillor, Azlan Pagay and Prince Joey Lee); Basketball (SWU Phinma Cobras, SHS-Ateneo de Cebu Magis Eagles, Shaquille Imperial, Leobert Andrew “LA” Casinillo, UV SBP, Team Cebu City/Abellana National School); Baseball (Isaac Bacarisas); Billiards (Warren Kiamco); Boxing-pro (Rey Caitom Jr., Joe Noynay, Carlo Demecillo, Mark Vicelles, Dave Penalosa); Boxing-amateur (Pathricia Mae Sumalinog and Bienjemar Codoy); Cycling (Jonel Carcueva and John Mier); Dancesport (Crisologo Rendon); Dragonboat (Sugbu Mighty Dragons); Football (Raya Tolentino, Maegan Alforque, Mia Evangelista, Roseton Barinan and Dean Ebarle); Golf (Gen Nagai); Gymnastics (Leanne Manning); Jiujitsu (Overlimit Jiujitsu Academy); Karatedo (Rhodee Ann Saavedra); Motorsports (Sylvester Ramirez); Muay Thai (Jemarie Josh Ybanez, Zion Alexander Melecio, and Buen Algono); Sepak Takraw (RheyJey Ortouste); Shooting (Roygbiv Barro); Scrabble (Learjet Dela Cruz); Softball (Jasper Cabrera and Jerome Bacarisas); Swimming (Jasmine Alkhaldi, Maxime Rooney and Raven Faith Alcoseba); Taekwondo (Nica Garces); Tennis (Iggy Pantino, Tiffany Nocus and Chad Connor Cuizon); Triathlon (Moira Frances Erediano and CJ Lipura); Volleyball (Floremel Rodriguez, Edmar Bonono, James Buytrago and Jobert Almodiel).


The 52nd Anvil Awards

Leo Amoyan (HR manager of SMB), Girlie Garces (SMB head of Corporate Communications) and John P.

Last Friday night at the Makati Shangri-La, I received an award in behalf of the Sportswriters Association of Cebu (SAC). With me were three executives from San Miguel Brewery: Girlie Garces, heading Corporate Communications; Leo Amoyan, who leads Human Resources; and Bryan Garcia from SMB’s headquarters.

SAC and SMB have been partners for 35 years. Each February or March, we recognize the Cebuano athletes and sportsmen who excelled in their respective games. And as you may have read last week, June Mar Fajardo copped the highest honor (Athlete of the Year), Donnie Nietes beamed a toothful smile as Hall of Fame awardee, Joy Tabal stood tall in her high heels, Jonel Borromeo was honored with the Presidential Award and Fred Uytengsu, born in Cebu in 1961, was our Sportsman of the Year.

Back to last Friday, it was a glittering affair as SMB and SAC jointly received the Anvil Award. What’s an “anvil?” In plain English, it means “a heavy steel or iron block with a flat top, concave sides, and typically a pointed end, on which metal can be hammered and shaped.” Named after this block of iron, the Anvil Awards honors organizations and companies whose programs make an impact and are long-lasting.

“Presented annually by the Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP), the ANVIL is the symbol of Excellence in Public Relations,” read the website. “It is awarded to outstanding public relations programs, tools and, now, practitioners after careful screening by select PR professionals and judging by a distinguished multi-sectoral jury.”

Why would a PR group recognize an awards body that honors athletes? Because of the uninterrupted partnership of San Miguel and SAC.

Last Friday, we were seated by 4:45 p.m. Very early, I thought, for an awarding ceremony. It turns out that the program involves plenty of entertainment and speeches. Over a thousand beautifully-dressed ladies and gentlemen in coat-and-tie filled the Rizal Ballroom. The stage was huge and impressive. Large screen LCD sets swamped the backdrop. Some of the most celebrated of dance groups captivated the audience as Girlie, Leo, Bryan and myself enjoyed dinner that included salmon and corn-fed chicken.

Joy Polloso, who heads the retail group of Filinvest, was seated at the next table as many of the nation’s top firms, including Smart, PLDT, Shell, PDI and Phil. Star, Page One and more were honored. Manny Pangilinan was in attendance. Finally, when the clock neared 9 p.m., we were called up on stage for that quick award acceptance. A short but memorable moment honoring 35 long and enduring years.

The 35th SMB-SAC Cebu Sports Awards

This Tuesday (March 7) from 2 to 5 p.m. will be “The Oscars” of Cebu sports. And while the Academy Awards was held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, ours will be at the North Wing of the SM City Cebu. It’s that once-a-year gathering of Cebu’s best… and you’re invited! These awards used to be held inside the exclusive confines of Casino Español and GrandCon. Not anymore. The sportswriters — the women and men who write stories on these back pages — decided to “open” the awarding by holding it in SM City. It’s free. You get to see June Mar or “Ahas” or Mary Joy or Jonel Borromeo, the Motorace CEO who is our Presidential Awardee.

Michael Jerome Templado Limpag, SunStar’s sports editor, is the SAC president. Together with Girlie Garces, one of San Miguel Brewery’s top executives, Mike will be leading our group in honoring the year’s top personalities.

Who is the Athlete of the Year? I know the answer but I can’t reveal it here. That secret will be proclaimed on Tuesday. The Sportsman of the Year? His name (okay, that’s a clue) will be announced soon and I guarantee you that, of our nation’s 100 million Pinoys, he’s one of the most respected of sportsmen.

Here is the complete list. If you’re one of the awardees, see you on Tuesday!

MAJOR: Donnie Nietes, Joy Tabal, June Mar Fajardo, Samantha Limos, Rogelio Miguel Tremedal, Johnreil Casimero, Marlon Tapales, Milan Melindo, Josephine Teria, Jerish Velarde, Weiwei Gao, LJ Go, Niel Francis Palomares, Kiyomi Watanabe, Rafael Vidal, Khazart William Romoff, Rheyjey Ortueste, Paul Jumamil, Gretchel Soltones and Glen Lava.

CITATION: World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation, John Marvin Rafols, Rick Angelo Sotto, Mart Chan Torregasa, Seth Abram Pilapil, Khalin Alex Abella, Rogelio Miguel Tremedal, Lloyd Adlawan, Alex Sebastian Blanco, Tricia Merced Opon, Elloise Marie Canillo, Punta Princesa batted sports team, UV Green Lancers, SHS-AdC Magis Eagles, Rey Suerte, Jed Colonia, Cebu City’s basketball team in Batang Pinoy, Joshua Flores, Jayvee Bahio, Joshua Sinclair, Paul Desiderio, Florence Jil Talas, Darlienne Ragasajo, Tracy Carl Dadang, Perlas Pilipinas, Allana Lim, Jack Tepora, Kenny Demecillo, Mark Magsayo, Neil John Tabanao, Jason Pagara, Jimmy Paypa, Jessie Espinas, Arthur Villanueva, Eduardo Gimenez Jr., Alphecca Gonzales, Chris Aldritz Pondoyo, Jun Duron, Alexandrea Gumilao, Joaquin Buyco, Trevor Lood, Joaquin Suarez, Pietre Dakay, Marcel Ivan Ouano, Jesse Semblante, Leo Maquiling, Valentino Calvo, Major Dean Ebarle, Lorenzo Genco, Julian Miranda, Jordan Jarvis, Kintaro Miyagi, Vincent Erik Lovitos, Raphael Clifford de Guzman, Lorenz Giuseppe Genco, Nicholas Christan Villacin, Lois Kaye Go, and Junia Gabasa. Lianne Maning, Jisha Zhyra Azur, Justin Ayra Azur, Dino Singson Jr., Janine Narboada, Jeremy Nopre, Gerald Baclaan, Felix Calipusan Jr, Precious Avegail Belicario, DJ Mae Dente, Nicholas Avila, Joseph Casquejo, Aubrey Codilla, ER Khimlord Labura, Kim Andrei Makiling, Ken Caniga, Noel Tillor, Lady Dragons, Atty. Ingemar Macarine, Andrew Kim Remolino, Karen Mae Andaya, Johann Matthew Tubesa, Jawad Cup organizers, Henze Dominique Lucero, Mary Daniese Adolfo Saether, Jan Godfrey Seno, Team Cebu City boys and girls tennis teams, Zethley Mae Alferez, Alyssa Mae Bornia, Jana Pages, Katherine Yu, Moira Frances Erediano, Karen Andrea Manayon, Jorry Ycong, Isa Molde, Fernando Agad Jr, Evangelito Dale Ceniza, Jeofrey Frasco Jr., Dino Singson, John Vincent Villa, Elwin Retanal, John Renee Mier, Ica Maximo, Dancesport Team Cebu City, Daniel dela Pisa, Kyla Sylverio, Kim Paller, Luis Drei Candia, Dartspeed Eslao, Raven Faith Alcoseba, Gudmoto B8, John Rex Tongco, Arthur Craig Pantino, Tabuelan 111 organizers, Rafael Trinidad, Team Cebu-Toyota Vios and Jette Calderon.

33 years of honoring Cebu’s best

“I always turn to the sports pages first, which records people’s accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man’s failures.” – Earl Warren, former U.S. chief justice

I talk about these “back pages” because the women and men who report and publish sports stories have, for the past 33 years, practiced an unbroken tradition. We, the sportswriters, congregate and deliberate on the previous year’s best performers and, on one grand occasion, we honor these athletes and sportsmen for their outstanding feats.

The 33rd SAC-SMB Cebu Sports Awards will be this Tuesday, March 31, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Activity Center of the Ayala Center Cebu. SAC stands for Sportswriters Association of Cebu while SMB is one of the nation’s largest conglomerates, San Miguel Brewery, Inc.

What we, the sportswriters, do is this: We meet several times, submit nominations via email; we research on the top achievers of the past year; from a long list, we trim down the names, classify whether last year’s victory was international or national until we decide on the final list of awardees. At the end of the deliberations, we have accumulated a full set of honorees. The Major Awardees, the Citation Awardees, and the Special Awardees, which include the Sportsman of the Year and the Presidential Awardee. Finally, among the list of over a hundred athletes, we award that one person who will be named “Athlete of the Year.” While all other names are announced beforehand, the suspense of this AOTY trophy is reserved until the very end, up on stage this Tuesday in Ayala, when his or her name will be announced.

I’ve been writing sports for 20 years now and, like Nimrod Quiñones, who’s been around even longer, I’ve been attending the Awarding for a long time. I recall Z Gorres in Casino Español, just months after his near-death Las Vegas scare, walking to the stage to receive his award with boxing godfather Tony Aldeguer as our guest of honor. Manny Pacquiao, Nonito Donaire and Gerry Peñalosa graced one star-studded affair.

Is the 33rd Cebu Sports Awards open to the public for free? Absolutely. Here are the honorees:

MAJOR AWARDEES: BASKETBALL: June Mar Fajardo and Aldrich Ramos. BEACH VOLLEYBALL: Edmar Bonono and Edward Ybañez. BOXING: Donnie Nietes. CHESS: Kim Steven Yap. CYCLING: Nino Surban and John Mier. Dancesport: Charlea Lagaras and Ronnie Vergara. FOOTBALL: Itsuko Bacatan, Alexandrea Gumilao, Arantxa Mari Trebol, Jan Reese Jumawan and Alexa Ceniza. GYMNASTICS: Daniella Reggie de la Pisa. JUDO: Kiyomi Watanabe. MUAY THAI: Joel Zaspa. RUNNING: Mary Joy Tabal. SOFTBALL: Isaac Bacarisas, Jasper Cabrera, Ben Maravilles, Oscar Bradshaw IV and Jerome Bacarisas. TABLE TENNIS: Richard Gonzales. TAEKWONDO: Clement Tan, MacAvyngr Alob, Nichole Maurin, Rinna Babanto and Glen Lava. TRIATHLON: Joseph Miller, Frederic Yuan Chiongbian and Aaliyah Ricci Mataragnon.

CITATION AWARDEES: ARCHERY: Lloyd Apawan and Vincent Villa. Athletics: Mike Lopez, Ninolito Justiane and Ivan Miguel Santos. BADMINTON: Zinah Marichelle Bejosa. BASKETBALL: SWU, Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu, UV Passerelle team, UV 16-Under team, Mark Tallo, Felixberto Jabonetta IV, Greg Slaughter, Jerick Canada, Kent Vincent Moral, Ken Gato, Arnie Christian Padilla, Andres Desiderio, Dave Yu, Leonard Santillan, Andrew Velasco and Mary Jean Pascual. BEACH VOLLEYBALL: Jade Becaldo, Louije Tipgos, UV, and SWU. BILLIARDS: Rubilen Amit and Warren Kiamco. BOWLING: Jomar Jumapao, Alexis Sy, Xyrra Cabusas, GJ Buyco and Alex Lagcao.

BOXING: Milan Melindo, Genesis Servania, Arthur Villanueva, Ian Refuela, Junrel Jimenez, Kit Garces, Jorge Edusma, Vicente Sios-e, Jr., John Nino Vega, Albert and Jason Pagara. CHESS: Elwin Retanal, Dwyane Abella, Kyle Sevillano, Jerish Velarde, Catherine Quinanola, and Laila Camel Nadera. CYCLING: Ica Maximo. DANCESPORT: Dancesport Team Cebu City. EXTREME SPORTS: Dandoy Tongco, Rafael Trinidad, Joshua and Jan Joseph Suson. FOOTBALL: Cviraa elem. team, Don Bosco futsal team, Joaquin Buyco, Charles Unabia, Enzo Ceniza, Yves Caballero, Jesse Semblante, Kyle Ronquillo, Marcel Ouano, Roygbiv Barro, and Leo Maquiling. GOLF: LJ Go and Charles Hong. JUDO: Joaquin Fernandez. KARTING: Vince Rojo and Craig Aleman.

KARATEDO: Nino Avilla, Precious Belicario, Charen Villamor, Karylle Perez, Hayashi-ha Shitoryukai team, and Rafael Vidal. MMA: Yawyan ArDigma. MOTOCROSS: Jon Eleazer Adlawan and BJ Pepito. MUAY THAI: Ken Caniga and Lara Jane Flores. RUGBY: Aiumi Ono, Madille Salinas and Cebu Lady Dragons. RUNNING: Maritess Bitbit, Brian Guillan, and Noel Tillor. SCRABBLE: Michael Tuba and Frances Lim. SEPAK TAKRAW: Rhey Ortouste and Metodio Suico. SWIMMING: Psalm Deniel Aquino, Ichiro Kong, and Lorendale Echavez. TABLE TENNIS: UC team, Berto Bas, and Sherlyn Love Gabisay. TAEKWONDO: Luiji Estrada, Veronica Garces, Mayn Corna, Zozen Prajes, Wendil Rama, and Dineson Caneda. TENNIS: Jan Godfrey Seno, Arthur Craig Pantino, Zethley Mae Alfrez, Shyne Villareal, Jana Pages and Jerico Bohol. TRIATHLON: Justin Chiongbian, John Philip Dueñas, Kristian Lim and Lorhiz Lopez. UNDERBONE: Simon Solon. VOLLEYBALL: Central Visayas team, Gretchel Soltones, Matthew Navace, and Isabel Molde. WEIGHTLIFTING: Leonida Cambajiran and Evangelit Ceniza. WRESTLING: Luis Ansag.

To all the awardees and to the sporting fans who want to witness the affair, see you on Tuesday!

Honoring the best

It’s called “The Oscars” of Cebu sports. It’s that one afternoon when all the star athletes from Badminton to Golf to MMA to Rugby to Volleyball to Wrestling get-together and get recognized.

It’s tomorrow from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Activity Center of Ayala Center Cebu. It’s for free. It’s also the 32nd year that this event has been produced. Venues have changed. From the 1521 lounge at the San Miguel Beer headquarters to Grand Convention Center to Casino Español and, tomorrow, at Ayala Center.

What doesn’t change is this: Each year, with no miss, the sportswriters of Cebu celebrate by honoring the year’s best performers. Tomorrow’s awardees are being applauded for their accomplishments in 2013.

The Cebu Sports Awards is important because of many reasons. It happens only once a year. It’s organized by an independent group, the Sportswriters Association of Cebu. It’s long-standing (32 years). It’s held in partnership with one of Asia’s top conglomerates, San Miguel Corporation (special thanks to SMB’s Girlie Garces).

Rico Navarro is our SAC president. Joaquin “Quinito” Henson, the preeminent sports columnist and TV personality, will join us tomorrow. He’ll give the Keynote Address. Quinito is that rare individual who is at the top of his field but one who’s remained humble and approachable. We were together in Macau for Manny Pacquiao’s last fight and, during breakfast just hours before MP’s battle, it was admirable to chat with such a respectful and enthusiastic person. Quinito is flying in and out of Cebu solely for the awards.

Sportsman of the Year? My good friend Tony del Prado, the man who’s helped steer the artistry of taekwondo, is the deserving executive.

Athlete of the Year? Ha-ha. I know the name but I won’t divulge it. That’s reserved for those who’ll attend.     See you tomorrow!

MAJOR AWARDEES: Rubilen Amit, Johnny Arcilla, Wilbert Aunzo, Rinna Babanto, Mikaela Calamba, Pearl Caneda, CCC men’s golf team, Justin Chiongbian, Johnreil Casimero, Mary Grace de los Santos, Andres Paul Desiderio, Don Bosco Technology Center, June Mar Fajardo, Kim Lao, Glenn Lava, Joseph Miller, Julius Nierras, Donnie Nietes, Rhey Jay Ortouste, Arnie Christian Padilla, Arthur Craig Pantino, Paref Springdale football, Elwin Retanal, Merlito Sabillo, Jan Godfrey Seno, Mary Joy Tabal, and Kiyomi Sarausad Watanabe.

CITATION AWARDEES: Pearl Angeline Abellar, Mike Abria, Jonjon Adlawan, Zethley Mae Alferez, Moiselle Alforque, Macavynger Alob, Luis Ansag, Banilad Elem. School badminton team, Felix Shaun Balbona, Hipolito Banal, Jade Becaldo, Jusabelle Brillo, Maegan Bugarin, Moises Bullecer, Cary Bullos, Miguel Calamba, Jette Calderon, Val Calvo, Yuan Chiongbian, Val Andre Chiu, Diego Abraham Claro, Team Cebu City table tennis, Club Filipino de Cebu, Clark Cuico, CEPCA, CFA, Cebu Lady Dragons, Elson Dorimon, and Team Cebu City Dancesport.

Philip Duenas, Majordean Ebarle, Bruno Escalante, Jeffrey Estella, Joseph Falcone, Joaquin Nicolo Fernandez, Junia Gabasa, Tonette Gambito, Veronica Garces, Danika Gendrauli, Jimrex Jaca, Eloisa Jordan, Michael Ichiro Kong, Ericka Lim, Ulyross Lopez, Erik Ngitz Lovitos, Aaliyah Ricci Mataragnon, John Mier, Daniel Miranda, Nichole Maurin, Ana Patricia Maximo, Milan Melindo, Neil Minoza, Kintaro Miyagi, Gen Nagai, Anthony Lynn Navarro, and Daniel Noval.

Jason Pagara, Jana Marie Pages, Ivan Palmero, Paolo Pascual, Bj Pepito, Mark Kevin Petancio, Neil Perino, Daniela dela Pisa, Kimberly Gabrielle Paler, Kelle Kay Rojas, Madil Salinas, Apple Saraum, Genesis Servania, Rhenzi Kyle Sevillano, Vergilio Silvano, Greg Slaughter, Ralph Eduard So, SHS-ADC, SWU, Nino Surban, Marlon Tapales, Mark Javen Tallo, John Rey Tongco, Arantxa Trebol, UV, Shaia Uy, Jerish John Velarde, Arthur Villanueva, Yaw-Yan Ardigma Cebu, and Edward Ybanez.

10 reasons to watch the 31st Cebu Sports Awards

This afternoon from 3 to 5, we will be honoring the top sports performers of 2012. The list is long. There’s John Mier. There’s David Lim, Jr. There’s Mendel Lopez, who’s being awarded not for running but for triathlon.

A total of 250 athletes and sportsmen and women — all Cebuanos or Cebu-based — will step on stage at The North Wing Atrium of SM City Cebu to receive their plaques and citations.

31st SAC_colored_1

Today’s event — the 31st SAC-SMB Cebu Sports Awards — is historic for many reasons.

First, it is the first time to be held at the SM City. We’ve hosted this ceremony 30 times in the past, from Magellan’s Hotel to Grand Con to Laguna Garden Cafe to Ayala Center, but never in SM. And never on the 3rd and final day of the 3-day SM sale.

Second, for the coveted “Sportsman of the Year” award, we’re not giving it to one man — but to sportsmen. Yes, plural. The award goes to… the Cebu Football Association. Yes, the new CFA officers professionalized the world’s biggest sport in 2012 and brought to our Visayan shores the show entitled “Azkals vs. Singapore.”

Third reason: We’re having a new set of officers for SAC (Sportswriters Association of Cebu). For the past five years, I’ve held the title of president. We held an election recently and I’m proud to introduce our new set of officers: Rico Navarro (president), Mike Limpag (VP), Marian Baring (sec.), Manny Villaruel (treas.), Jonas Panerio (auditor) and Mars Alison, PRO. (You’ll notice that the six officers are equally distributed: two each from SunStar, CDN and The Freeman.)

To Rico — who writes every Sunday for The Freeman and is the sports director of Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu — good luck! (The Induction Ceremony, to be administered by CCSC chairman Edward Hayco, will also be this afternoon.)

Fourth reason: Football is the biggest winner today. There’s a CFA General Assembly starting 6 PM tonight. The top Philippine bigwigs are arriving, including PFF President Nonong Araneta and Azkals patron Dan Palami. Both are expected in SM later. Most of all, my choice for Presidential Awardee is Dr. Pericles “Ricky” Dakay.

Ricky plays football, has kids who play football, has a team (Queen City) who plays football, and runs the most active sports organization in Cebu today that’s all football: the CFA.

Five: Who’s the Athlete of the Year? Last year, it was Richard Bitoon of chess. The year before, it was world boxing champ Donnie Nietes. In 2010, we awarded Rubilen Amit, the billiards wizard. The list is varied. This award is the only surprise that will be unwrapped and announced towards the end of the program. Nobody except the sportswriters knows the recipient. Watch for this!

Sixth reason: Sally Mae “Em-Em” Siso will be honored. A multiple tennis honoree in the past, Em-Em will receive a different plaque today: the Orlando C. Sanchez Memorial Award. This is conferred to that one individual who exemplifies good sportsmanship. Why Em-Em? Last year, we were together in Palawan and, while Em-Em was unjustly defaulted in the finals match, she had all the humility and kindness to approach her tormentors and make amends. That’s sportsmanship.

Seven: Watch Mikeala Calamba. I have yet to meet the 15-year-old high schooler from USC who, last year, became world champion when she won the 7th World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in Colombia. Mikeala will be performing today.

Reason No. 8: Check out the entertainment. A live band will entertain the crowd. Ed Hayco’s Dancesport Team Cebu City will dance. Tony del Prado’s taekwondo artists will strut their moves.

Nine: Bring your children. Who doesn’t want to get their kids into sports? This is the best occasion to inspire them to get active.

10: Finally… Cheer for your friends! Clap for them. Show your support. We will also have an 8’ x 8’ photo wall. Take photos with all the sports-stars. This only happens once a year. See you later!

Cebu Sports Awards: Gathering of the best

This Sunday, all shoppers — and top athletes — proceed to the SM City Cebu.

It’s not just the 3-day SM Super Sale, it’s also the 31st edition of the Cebu Sports Awards. Organized by the Sportswriters Association of Cebu (SAC) and San Miguel Brewery, Inc. (SMB), it’s the yearly gathering of Cebu’s best athletes and sports personalities. The Awarding will be from 3 to 5 P.M.

To all the awardees, a few reminders:

One, please join us. If you can’t because you’re out of town, please ask a family member to attend. We will ask him/her to receive the award on stage.

Two, come early. It’s the SM Super Sale and thus, parking and people are plenty. We’re asking all to be there before 2:30 P.M.

Three, invite your friends and family members. Be proud! (Years back, we held this function at Casino Español. The problem was, the space was limited. We now have a huge area at The North Wing Atrium of SM.)

Four, wear semi-formal attire. We know you’d rather wear shorts and Nike. But, for once, let us see you wear something more formal. (In previous awards, we’d be happily shocked and not recognize athletes because of their dresses and make-up.) Dress up!

Five, bring a camera. We’ll have a photo wall. We’ll have snacks by 5 P.M. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to snap photos with your co-awardees. Relish this moment. It only happens once every 365 days.

Six, celebrate. Use this occasion to feel honored. You are one of the few. You are one of the top in Cebu. Use this honor to motivate you. Congratulations!

MAJOR AWARDEES. (Athletics) Daniel Noval, (Arnis), Trixie Mary Lofranco and Reynaldo Combate, (basketball), Jerie Pingoy and June Mar Fajardo, (beach volleyball) Jonrey Sasing and Edward Ybañez, (boxing), Johnriel Casimero, Donnie Nietes and Michael Aldeguer, (chess) Enrico Sevillano, (cycling) John Mier, (dancesport) Mae Lozada, (football) Don Bosco Technology Center Grade School, Cebu Football Association, (golf), Cebu Country Club men’s team, Gio Gandionco, (gymnastics) Carmelli Garrovillo, (mixed-martial arts) Victor Cui, (running) Mary Grace de los Santos, (swimming) Bea Riza Roble, (table tennis), Dannel Jay Tormis and Stephen Jaca, (taekwondo) Mikeala Calamba, (triathlon), Justin Liam T. Chiongbian.

CITATION AWARDEES. (athletics), Lorna Olarita, USPF Athletics team, (autocross), David G. Lim Jr., Jess Garcia and Derek Arculli, (badminton), SWU high school team, USJ-R men’s team, UC Women’s Doubles, Jessa Mae Lagat, Irish Mae Ares, (baseball), Cebu Dolphins, (basketball), SWU Cobras, SHS-Ateneo de Cebu, UV U-16 team, Hernal Escocio, Dawn Hynric P. Ochea, UV Under-16 team, Arnie Christian A. Padilla, Felixberto G. Jaboneta IV, Gregory Slaughter, (beach volleyball), UV’s Jade Becaldo and Mike Abria, (billiards), Warren Kiamco, (bodybuilding), Dondon Cardona, Dennis Nichol Delgado, (boxing), Genesis Servania, Romnick Magos, Jason Pagara, Milan Melindo, Rocky Fuentes, Rey “Boom-Boom” Bautista, Merlito Sabillo, Arthur Villanueva, (chess) Allan Pason, Kyle Sevilleno, Vic Glyzen Derotas and Cepca, (dancesport), Dancesports Team Cebu City, Wilbert Aunzo, Pearl Marie Cañeda, (football), SHS-Ateneo de Cebu, Aranxa Trebol, Eddie Alivio, Kintaro Miyagi, Lawrence Colina, Majordean Ebarle, Vincent Erik Lovitos, Moiselle Angelo Alforque, Lorenzo Genco, Brandon Durano, Cheska Toledo, Patrick Reichelt, Ray Jonsson, Oliver Colina, Glenn Ramos, Paolo Pascual, USC College Team, (golf) CCC ladies team, (gymnastics) Mikaela Silverio, (judo) Joaquin Fernandez, (karting) Juan Antonio Carcel, (mixed-martial arts) Cary Bullos, YawYan Ardigma, (motocross) Pepo Rubi, BJ Pepito, (mountain bike) Zandro Fajardo, (running) Mary Joy Tabal, Merlita Dunkin, John Philip Duenas, (rugby) Cebu Lady Dragons, (sepak takraw) Rhey Jay Ortouste, (softball) Abellana National School, Salazar Colleges of Science and Institute of Technology, (swimming) Anthony Linn Navarro, (speed skating) Zach Sanchez Araneta, (table tennis) Jerny Kaye Pepito, (taekwondo) Antonio R. del Prado, Team Cebu City, (tennis) Kara Salimbangon, Jana Pages, Jan Godfrey Seno, (triathlon/duathlon) Elmer Clarabal, Rochelle Tan, Mendel Lopez, Justin Liam T. Chiongbian, Nina Francesca M. Villaba, (underbone racing) Team Suzuki-BMR and Anacleto Flores, (volleyball) USC men and women’s teams, USJ-R boys and girls teams, SWU V-League champions, SWU national Prisaa champs, Catmon Central School, Jusabelle Brillo and Raphril Aguilar.


The 31st SAC-SMB Cebu Sports Awards

Each month of March, our group of columnists, writers and editors on these back pages — the Sportswriters Association of Cebu (SAC) — gather to honor the year’s top sports performers.

Who will be the Athlete of the Year? Who will be our guest of honor? In previous years, we had Antonio Lopez Aldeguer, Manny Pacquiao and Dondon Hontiveros. Who will be this year’s inspirational speaker?

Sportsman of the Year? Who will be this solitary man (or woman) who will receive the highest honor this 2013?

Although I sit as president of SAC, these answers — for now — are confidential. In the next days and weeks, we will slowly announce the full list (plus the full details: date, venue, etc.). But, today, I am ready to present to you our Major Awardees and Citation Awardees.

All of these individuals, teams and organizations have excelled in the 12 months of 2012. They’ve worked the hardest. They’ve sweated buckets. They’ve won gold. They are the most outstanding sports for last year…

MAJOR AWARDEES. (athletics) Daniel Noval, (arnis) Trixie Mary Lofranco, Reynaldo Combate, (basketball), Jerie Pingoy, June Mar Fajardo, (beach volleyball), Jonrey Sasing, Edward Ybañez, (boxing), Johnriel Casimero, Donnie Nietes, Michael Aldeguer, (chess), Enrico Sevillano, (cycling), John Mier, (dancesport), Mae Lozada , (football), Don Bosco elementary team, Cebu Football Association, (golf) Cebu Country Club, Gio Gandionco (gymnastics). Carmelli Garrovillo, (mixed-martial arts), Victor Cui, (running), Mary Grace delos Santos, (swimming), Bea Riza Roble, (table tennis), Dannel Jay Tormis, Stephen Jaca, (taekwondo), Mikeala Calamba, (triathlon/duathlon), Justin Chiongbian.

CITATION AWARDEES. (athletics) Lorna Olarita, USPF Athletics team, (autocross), David G. Lim Jr., Jess Garcia, Derek Arculli, (badminton), SWU high school team, USJ-R men’s team, UC Women’s Doubles (Jessa Mae Lagat, Irish Mae Ares), (baseball), Cebu Dolphins, (basketball), SWU Cobras, Sacred Heart School-AdC, UV U-16 team, Hernal Escocio, Dawn Hynric Ochea, UV – Under-16 team, Arnie Christian Padilla, Felixberto Jaboneta IV, Gregory Slaughter, (beach volleyball), UV’s Jade Becaldo and Mike Abria, (billiards), Warren Kiamco, (bodybuilding) Dondon Cardona, Dennis Nichol Delgado, (boxing), Genesis Servania, Romnick Magos, Jason Pagara, Milan Melindo, Rocky Fuentes, Rey “Boom-Boom” Bautista, Merlito Sabillo, Arthur Villanueva, (chess), Allan Pason, Kyle Sevilleno, Vic Glyzen Derotas, Cepca, (dancesport), Dancesports Team Cebu City, Wilbert Aunzo and Pearl Marie Cañeda, (football), Sacred Heart School High School, Aranxa Trebol, Eddie Alivio, Little Azkals, Cheska Toledo, Patrick Reichelt, Ray Jonsson, Oliver Colina, Glenn Ramos, Paolo Pascual, USC college team, (golf) Cebu Country Club Ladies team, (gymnastics) Mikaela Silverio, (judo), Joaquin Fernandez, (karting), Juan Antonio Carcel, (mixed-martial arts), Cary Bullos, YawYan Ardigma, (motocross), Pepo Rubi, BJ Pepito, (mountainbike), Zandro Fajardo, (running), Mary Joy Tabal, Merlita Dunkin, John Philip Duenas, (rugby) Cebu Lady Dragons, (sepak Takraw), Rhey Jay Ortouste, (softball), Abellana National School, Salazar Colleges of Science and Institute of Technology, (swimming), Anthony Linn Navarro, (speedskating), Zach Sanchez Araneta, (table tennis), Jerny Kaye Pepito, (taekwondo), Tony del Prado, Team Cebu City, (tennis), Kara Salimbangon, Jana Pages, Jan Godfrey Seno, (triathlon/Duathlon),Elmer Clarabal, Rochelle Tan, Mendel Lopez, Yuan Chiongbian,. Francesca Villaba, (underbone), Team Suzuki-BMR, Anacleto “Insik” Flores, (volleyball), USC men and women’s teams, USJ-R boys and girls teams, SWU V-League champions,. SWU national Prisaa champs, Catmon Central School, Jusabelle Brillo, Raphril Aguilar.

Starry, star-filled night in Cebu

Of the year’s 366 nights (yes, that includes Feb. 29), the one evening I enjoy the most happened last Saturday. It was the 30th SAC-SMB Cebu Sports Awards.

As president of the Sportswriters Association of Cebu (SAC), I was fortunate to have stood on-stage and overlooked all of Cebu’s top sports personalities. Including three nights ago, I’ve presided over four Awards Nights: In 2009, we had Manny Pacquiao as guest speaker. Two years ago, it was Antonio Lopez Aldeguer. Last year, the “Year of the Azkals,” we had the “founder” of the Azkals, Dan Palami.

Last Saturday, our guest of honor was Chito Loyzaga, the former PBA superstar and now one of the commissioners of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).

With Chito Loyzaga (center) with Rico Navarro

Why was the 30th Cebu Sports Awards special, apart from gathering under one open roof all of our elite athletes? “The reason why Cebu sports is one of the nation’s best,” I explained to Mr. Loyzaga in my Closing Remarks while standing beside him on-stage, “is because of those two gentlemen there seated beside each other.”

I then requested the two to stand and be applauded. Edward Hayco and Harry Radaza. For the first time in a major gathering, the sports leaders of Cebu City and Lapu-Lapu City sat alongside each other, exchanging stories and ideas. Thanks to Ed and Harry, Cebu is a leader in sports.

With Harry and Ed

AWARDING. Nearly 200 athletes were honored. Mary Grace de los Santos and Mary Joy Tabal we could hardly recognize because they wore glittering dresses and high-heels — so different from their sleeveless-shirts and running shoes.

AJ Banal, Milan Melindo and the ALA boys were there. So were Sammy Gello-ani and Leon Panoncillo. The one who looked most stunning? Lorhiz Echavez-Lopez, who wore a sexy, body-hugging dress… and she just gave birth seven days ago!

Also looking pretty were the lady-sportswriters, who all wore dresses. And us, gentlemen, barong-tagalog.

PRESENTATIONS. The University of Cebu (UC) Cheer Dance group opened the event with a performance that included cart-wheels, balancing acts, and up-in-the-air flips.

Carmelli Garrovillo, prior to her receiving her Special Citation trophy, danced. She’s a multi-awarded gymnast. Then, Johnlery Caniga and his Yaw-Yan team did a Mixed Martial Arts demo.

Then, for the finale, Dancesport Team Cebu City re-enacted their “Human Chess Dancers” performance that was part of our Guinness World Record chess attempt.

ATHLETE OF THE YEAR.  This was awarded to one of the few chess Grandmasters of our nation: Richard Bitoon. As editor Mike Limpag pointed out yesterday, chess is the big winner of the 30th Cebu Sports Awards.

GIRLIE. Without San Miguel Brewery, Inc., represented by Girlie Garces, the event would not have happened. SAC and SMB have been partners all these 30 years. Thanks, Girlie!

HARRY. The speech of the night? It belonged to the man who received the “Sportsman of the Year” trophy: Lapu-Lapu City Councilor Harry Radaza.

I had the chance to work with Harry last year on two projects. Exactly one year ago today, we hosted the first Phils. vs. Japan tennis event of the Davis Cup. Then, in September, another Davis Cup tie: Phils. vs. Chinese-Taipei (Taiwan). Apart from tennis, Harry organized PBA games, multilple road-running events, Pinoy Pride boxing clashes. Plus, of course, there’s the Hoops Dome.

In his acceptance speech last Saturday night, Harry joked the athletes: “My love for sports started when I was seven years old and I won third place in a swimming competition.” The crowd clapped. “We were only three participants!” he added, drawing laughter from the audience.

Harry also delivered the most memorable line when he ended his speech by  saying… “As soon as I wake up in the morning, I read the newspapers. And the section that I read first is the sports section. Why? Because unlike the front pages that talk about people’s failures, you guys, the sportswriters, write about people’s accomplishments.”

Well-said, Harry. And, perfectly-timed today, let me greet you… Happy Birthday!