PSA to honor SMB coach, Team Manila ix, Melindo
Their campaigns took different turns, but in the end, all of them made their marks in Philippine sports last year.
San Miguel Beer’s champion coach Leo Austria, girls softball World Series winner Team Manila and former International Boxing Federation (IBF) light flyweight title holder Milan Melindo banner the list of major awardees when the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) and San Miguel Corporation honor the top athletes of 2017 in an annual awards night on Feb. 27 at Manila Hotel.
Austria wound up just a title short of a rare PBA Grand Slam after steering the Beermen to the 2017 Philippine Cup and Commissioner’s Cup titles. But the feat still earned the 59-year-old mentor from Quezon a record third straight Coach of the Year recognition.
Team Manila, the squad that’s almost always scrounging for financial support, still emerged as champion in the 2017 Pony International 18-Under Girl Softball World Series in California. It was their second win since 2012 under coach Ana Santiago.
Melindo, meanwhile, bagged the IBF title belt after upsetting former champion Akira Yaegashi in Tokyo last year. The 29-year-old boxer later defended his crown in a split decision against Hekkie Budler in Cebu.
The wins made Melindo a strong contender for the Athlete of the Year plum, until he lost his unification fight against Japanese Ryoichi Taguchi on New Year’s Eve.
Athletics standouts Eric Shauwn Cray, Mary Joy Tabal and Southeast Asian Games double gold medalist Trenten Anthony Beram will also be feted.
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