MANILA, Philippines - For putting the Philippines back on the world stage, three pool players and a young taekwondo jin are among the top individuals in a long list of achievers to be recognized by the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) in its coming Annual Awards Night.
World champions Rubilen Amit, Dennis Orcollo, Lee Van Corteza, and Mikaela Calamba will be the 2013 recipients of the President’s Award that will be handed out during the Jan. 25 formal affair presented by Milo at the Solaire Resort and Casino.
The four are the latest to be bestowed of the honor first given to the Ateneo Blue Eagles team in 2002.
“Their respective triumphs are proof that Filipino athletes are truly world class. There were several others considered for the (President’s) award, but all four of them are truly deserving of it,” said PSA president Jun Lomibao of the Business Mirror.
Gilas Pilipinas squad is the recipient of the Athlete of the Year honor, the highest individual award given by the country’s oldest media organization during the ceremony held in partnership with Smart Sports, ICTSI-Philippine Golf Tour, Philippine Sports Commission, Accel at 3XVI, Rain or Shine, Globalport, Air21, Philippine Basketball Association, Sen. Chiz Escudero, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
The pint-sized Amit proved to be a giant on the felt table during the 2013 Yalin Women’s World Championship which she won by rallying back and defeating defending champion Kelly Fisher of Great Britain in the title match, 10-7, last November.
The 32-year-old Cebuana out of University of Santo Tomas did it by winning the last three racks of the race-to-10 final, to crown herself as the first and only two-time champion of the meet after winning the inaugural event in 2009.
Days after Amit’s world triumph, it was Calamba’s turn to shine in the eighth World Poomsae Championships where she sparked the Philippines’ three-gold medal romp in Bali, Indonesia.
The charming jin, who also hails from Cebu like Amit, bagged the gold in the female individual freestyle, and later, teamed up with Jocel Lyn Ninobla and Rinna Babanta in winning the gold in the under-17 team competition.
Two months earlier in faraway London, Orcollo and Corteza did their own thing by regaining for the country the title of the World Cup of Pool.
The Filipino pair turned back the Dutch tandem of Neils Feijen and Nick Van den Berg in the final, 10-8, to reclaim the crown last won by the country in 2009 behind legends Efren “Bata” Reyes and Francisco “Django” Bustamante, who were also the inaugural champions in 2006.
Other than the Athlete of the Year and President’s Award, also to be handed out are the Presidential Achievement Award, Executive of the Year, Major Awards, NSA of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award, Milo Junior Athlete Awards, Sixth Man Award, Mr. Football, Miss Volleyball, and Tony Siddayao Award for deserving youth athletes.
Citations will also be given to the gold medalists in the recent Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar, other individuals and entities, along with the dearly departed friends of Philippine sports who will be honored posthumously.