See you at Resorts World | Inquirer Sports
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See you at Resorts World

/ 12:02 AM April 17, 2014

Do you know that swimmer Teofilo Yldefonso, who won the country’s first Olympic medal in Amsterdam in 1928, was a member of the Philippine Scouts who was wounded and who died in the Japanese war?

They are preparing a knockout affair that has practically nothing to do with big-time boxing. Let this serve as an invitation.

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On June 12, Independence Day, Resorts World will play host to “Pagpupugay,” a commemorative presentation extolling feats of Filipino sporting greats, majority of whom are no longer with us.

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The core of the presentation zeroes in on hidden heroism of these sporting immortals, some of whom lost their lives fighting for our country.

The most touching are those of swimmer Teofilo Yldefonso, winner of the Philippines’ first Olympic medal, a bronze in the 200m in Amsterdam in 1924.

He repeated the feat in the following Olympiad in Los Angeles. Just like Yldefoso, trackster Miguel White, winner of the 400m bronze in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Jacinto Ciria Cruz, skipper of the 1936 natioal basketball squad that finished fifth in the Berlin Olympiad, gave their lives in the name of freedom during the Japanese war.

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A unique charity presentation, “Pagpupugay” will also formalize the union of current-day Filipino sporting greats who compose the Taas Noo Inc., a non-profit organization that aims to revisit and promote the Greatness of Filipinos.

The initial group is composed of bowling Hall-of-Famer Paeng Nepomuceno, Eugene Torre, Asia’s first chess grandmaster, world billiards great Efren “Bata” Reyes, super bowler Bong Coo and many-time national basketball team mainstay Alvin Patrimonio.

In a recent get-together at Resorts World Manila, these national sporting legends agreed to work together to pump life back into lethargic Philippine sports.

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Even before the union could be formalized, Taas Noo Inc. has extended a helping hand to luckless boxer Anthony Villanueva, first to win a silver medal for the country in the 1964 Olympics, whose feet are in danger of being amputated.

Last contacted, Villanueva was in Cabuyao, Laguna, with hardly anything to eat. “We will try to nurture Sir Anthony back to a point where he can at least gain dignity.

His fellow sports heroes are all willing to lend a hand,” said broadcaster Chino Trinidad, among the founders of Taas Noo Inc.

The legends in the group also intend to pass on their winning ways, serve as guide and inspiration to aspirants, through clinics and, hopefully, through the establishment of individual sports academies.

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Starting June 1 at Resorts World, there will be a “Hanay ng Kagitingan,” which Taas Noo Inc. hopes to be a definitive pagpupugay or salute to Philippine sports’ glorious 100 years.

This is one union that can’t fail, says Bata Reyes, who tears up upon learning that the bleeding Yldefonso was offered safe passage by Reiko Tsuruta, his Japanese rival in the Olympics who happened to be in the country serving in the Japanese army.

Yldefonso, preferring to be with his comrade in-arms, declined the offer. He died of gunshot wounds a few days later.

“This is just one of the noble stories that deserve to be told to this present generation, and much more to the next generation of Filipinos.

Not only to uplift Philippine Sports but awaken the inner hero in all of us,” Taas Noo, Inc. announced.

Come June 12, National Independence Day, there will be a first-of-its-kind tribute—”Gabi ng Pagpupugay.” “If we can honor and promote the jeepney, why not our sporting greats?” said Francis Bonnevie, promotions director of Resorts World.

“It’s about time we took a hand in sports development.” He promises “Pagpupugay” to be a knockout affair, the real deal.

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TAGS: Pagpupugay, Resorts World, Teofilo Yldefonso
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