Athletes and sports personalities who inspired and gave Philippine sports something to cheer about in mankind’s darkest hour will be recognized accordingly in the San Miguel Corporation-Philippine Sportswriters Association (SMC-PSA) Awards Night on Saturday at the TV5 Media Center.
A total of 32 awardees made up the short honor roll for 2020, comprised of sportsmen, officials, and entities who made a difference and rose to the challenge in the face of the great pandemic that disrupted both local and international sports.
To lady golfer Yuka Saso belongs the distinction as the recipient of the coveted Athlete of the Year Award traditionally handed out by the country’s oldest media organization, headed by its President and Manila Bulletin sports editor Tito S. Talao.
This marks the second time in three years the 19-year-old Filipina athlete of Japanese descent is going to receive the highest accolade from the Philippine sportswriting fraternity, after being bestowed with the same prestigious award in 2018 which she shared with fellow golfers Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go, and Olympic silver medal winner Hidilyn Diaz.
The Awards Night will be held virtually, a first-ever in the history of the PSA in the face of strict health restrictions, and is presented by San Miguel Corporation (SMC) and backed by the PSC (Philippine Sports Commission) and Cignal TV.
PSC Chairman William ‘Butch’ Ramirez will be at the forefront of honoring Saso and the rest of the awardees as guest speaker for the event, where he’ll likewise address the entire Philippine sports community in his keynote speech.
Hosted by the pair of Gretchen Ho and Paolo Del Rosario, the awards rite will be aired on March 28 over OneSports+ from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., with 1-Pacman Partylist, Chooks-to-Go, and Rain or Shine as major backers.
Other notable awardees for the year include Philippine Olympic Committee President Abraham ‘Bambol’ Tolentino (President’s Award), PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial (Executive of the Year), Alliances of Boxing Association in the Philippines (National Sports Association of the Year), and the trio of esteemed sports leaders Jose A. Romasanta, Renauld ‘Sonny’ Barrios, and the late Ambassador and basketball godfather Eduardo ‘Danding’ Cojuangco Jr. (Lifetime Achievement Award).
Also receiving major awards are netter Alex Eala, and boxers Johnriel Casimero and Pedro Taduran, while boxing legend and Senator Manny Pacquiao will be the recipient of the Chooks-to-Go Fan Favorite ‘Manok ng Bayan.’
Meanwhile, 20 personalities and entities are going to be given citation awards, even as athletes who turned frontliners in this time of the pandemic, will be honored with a special recognition as well.
Not to be forgotten are departed friends of Philippine sports in whose honor and memory a posthumous citation and a minute of silence will be made.