In a night of celebration, the San Miguel Corporation-Philippine Sportswriters Association (SMC-PSA) Annual Awards Night will gather the best and brightest of the past year in the grand ballroom of the Diamond Hotel on Monday evening.
The event will be a reminder of how the past is linked to the present and how it continues to shape the future of sports in the Philippines.
The star of the night will be Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz, who will receive the prestigious Athlete of the Year award for the third straight time.
The award will be exclusively given by the oldest media organization in the Philippines, headed by its president Rey C. Lachica, sports editor of Tempo.
Diaz, who will be 32 years old, will lead a huge honor roll of close to 100 awardees who will be recognized on this memorable night.
The event will not just be a recognition of the present and the future of sports in the Philippines, but also a tribute to the legends of the past.
The late track great Lydia De Vega will be elevated to the PSA Hall of Fame, while Diaz’s bosom buddy Elma Muros-Posadas will be recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Former Project Gintong Alay director Michael Keon, who is now the current mayor of Laoag City, will be among the special guests. He will personally reminisce the glory days when De Vega, Muros-Posadas, and others were the toast of Philippine track and field.
Other bigwigs, including Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richard Bachmann and Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino, will grace the formal affair.
Rising tennis star Alex Eala will be bestowed with the President’s Award, while Olympians EJ Obiena, Carlos Yulo, and Carlo Paalam, along with the Philippine Women’s football team and 11 others, will be presented with the Major Awards.
The event will be presented by the PSC and Cignal TV, and ably backed by the POC, Tagaytay City Mayor Bambol Tolentino, MILO, Smart, MVP Sports Foundation, Rain or Shine, 1Pacman Rep. Mikee Romero, Philippine Basketball Association, OKBet, ICTSI, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.
Special awards will also be given, including the Executive of the Year award to Tolentino, the National Sports Association of the Year award to Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas, the Mr. Basketball award to Scottie Thompson, the Ms. Football award to Sarina Bolden, and the MILO Champion of Grit and Glory award to Diaz.
A long list of citations will also be handed out, led by the gold medal winners in the Vietnam Southeast Asian Games. The event will also recognize the Tony Siddayao Awards, PSA Special Awards, and the Lifetime Award in sports journalism.
The night will not just be a celebration of the present and a tribute to the past, but also a moment to remember those who have passed away. A special posthumous tribute will be given to De Vega and a host of other athletes, officials, and personalities who passed away last year.
The Athlete of the Year award will be the fifth in the last eight years for Diaz, who first won it in 2016 when she ended the country’s 20-year Olympic drought with a silver medal finish in the Rio De Janeiro Games.
Diaz will become the latest to be honored with the highest Philippine sports award three or more times, joining the ranks of legendary athletes such as Manny Pacquiao, Paeng Nepomuceno, Bong Coo, De Vega, Luisito Espinosa, Nonito Donaire Jr, and Efren ‘Bata’ Reyes.