Past, present sports stars converge for PSA Awards
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s brightest sports stars — past and present — aligned on Monday night for the annual Philippine Sportswriters Association awards at the One Esplanade at Mall of Asia complex in Pasay.
BMX rider Daniel Caluag, who won the cycling gold medal in the Incheon Asian Games last year, received the Athlete of the Year honor from Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr., Philippine Sports Commission chair Richie Garcia and PSA president Jun Lomibao of Business Mirror.
“I feel humbled and honored,” said the 27-year-old Caluag, who arrived in Manila early Monday morning from the US just to receive the award. “This is a pretty big achievement to be the Athlete of the Year. The last one that ended being the single recipient of the award was back in 2008 and that was Manny Pacquiao.”
“And to be even named Athlete of the Year, I just can’t believe it.”
The men’s national basketball team led by PBA legends William “Bogs” Adornado and Robert Jaworski were also recognized with the Lifetime Achievement award. They won the Asian Basketball Confederation Championship (now Fiba Asia Championship) in 1973.
“I thank this recognition in behalf of the other achievers with so much humility and honor,” said Jaworski in his speech.
The other athletes who received major awards for their accomplishments in 2014 were boxer Donnie Nietes, ice skater Michael Martinez, cagers June Mar Fajardo of the San Miguel Beer and Kiefer Ravena of the Ateneo Blue Eagles, Grand Slam champion San Mig Coffee Mixers, Jessie Aligaga and Jean Claud Saclag of wushu, cyclist Mark Galedo, archer Gabriel Luis Moreno, the San Beda Red Lions, golfer Daniella Uy, the Philippine dragon boat and poomsae teams and jockey Jonathan Hernandez.
Star spiker Alyssa Valdez was named Ms. Volleyball for the second straight year.
“I’m really thankful and really overwhelming. I’m speechless,” said Valdez, whose star power has made volleyball one of the most popular sports in the country in the past couple of years.
Back-to-back UAAP cheerdance champion National University Pep Squad performed during the two-hour ceremony.
Garcia delivered the key-note address.
“This annual event is an important occasion, a gathering of the sporting community giving due recognition to the individuals who have made a mark in their respective sports and to those who have contributed to the development of Philippine sports this past year,” Garcia said.