Basketball’s real MVP is PSA’s Executive of the YearBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines — The man who made things happen for Philippine basketball will be honored by the Philippine Sportswriters Association during its Annual Awards Night on Jan. 25 at Centennial Hall of Manila Hotel.
Business tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan will be extolled as Executive of the Year by the country’s oldest media organization, after spearheading the country’s return to the world basketball championship after a 35-year wait.
The man they simply call “MVP” was at the heart of the campaign to bring the Fiba Asia Championship to Manila and bankrolled Gilas Pilipinas, which gave the country its brightest sporting moment last year when it clinched a spot in the Fiba World Championship in Spain.
It marked the first time that the Fiba Asia Championship was held in the country, spurring passionate support for Gilas, which will also be honored by the PSA as its Athlete of the Year during the ceremony backed by Milo and Air21.
“We can’t think of any other person worthy of the Executive of the Year award than Mr. Manny V. Pangilinan himself,” said PSA president Jun Lomibao, sports editor of Business Mirror.
Pangilinan, chair of the Philippine Long Distance Company/Smart and TV5, is also president of the Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas.
He is only the fourth sportsman to be given the award after Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (Abap) president Ricky Vargas, PBA commissioner Chito Salud and Philippine Azkals team manager Dan Palami.
A total of 123 personalities and entities will be conferred with 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 during the formal gathering held in partnership with Smart Sports, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Basketball Association, Accel at3XVI, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., Globalport, Air21, Rain or Shine, ICTSI-Philippine Golf Tour, and Sen. Chiz Escudero.
Also to be cited are gold medalists of the recent 27th Southeast Asian Games in Burma (Myanmar), while posthumous awards are to be bestowed on dearly departed friends of Philippine sports.