Who’s our biggest sports newsmaker? | Inquirer Sports
Bare Eye

Who’s our biggest sports newsmaker?

/ 11:27 PM December 30, 2016

Philippines' Hidilyn Diaz celebrates during the women's 53kg weightlifting event at the Rio 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro on August 7, 2016. AFP

Philippines’ Hidilyn Diaz celebrates during the women’s 53kg weightlifting event at the Rio 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro on August 7, 2016. AFP

The year in Philippines sports was a heady high-and-low mix of victory and defeat, triumph and tragedy, but what remained to be determined was whether or not lifter Hidilyn Diaz, who snatched a silver medal in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, was indeed our biggest sports newsmaker in 2016.

Her surprise silver medal, no doubt, felt like solid glittering gold, and this alone should make her a popular choice for most outstanding athlete of the year.

Super girl Hidilyn was the biggest sports news.  However, there were bigger achievements by other Filipino athletes away from the Olympics.

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At least four Filipino boxers, headed by Manny Pacquiao, were at the forefront of a successful quest for world crowns.

Although unsuccessful in securing another knockout after seven years, Pacquiao scored big by claiming a seat in the Philippine Senate.

The celebrated winner of eight world division titles followed up the great political feat by recapturing his WBO welterweight crown with a compelling win over Jessie Vargas, thus establishing himself as the lone world champion senator.

Other Filipino world boxing crown winners were Marlon Tapales, Johnriel Casimero and Edwin Ancajas.

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Elsewhere, the popular Gilas Pilipinas national basketball squad figured in a tragic fall in the special pre-Olympic qualifying tournament here, with the Gilas program next left to face an uncertain future.

Three all-time Filipino sports greats, basketball’s King Carlos Loyzaga, The Maestro coach Virgilio Dalupan and baseball/softball legend Filomeno Codinera Jr., passed on one after the other;  tragic losses rivaled only by the death of  The Greatest, Muhammad Ali.

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In what could be the noisiest win scored in national sports,  former congressman Jose Cojuangco Jr. was elected to a fourth straight term as president of the Philippine Olympic Committee.

With his battle cry “I am surrounded by idiots,” Cojuangco was elected unopposed after he caused the disqualification of a top aspirant, with the use of dubious self-imposed rules.

The election of Cojuangco, owner of the most selfish and unproductive reign at the POC, was big news, although it was received with widespread gloom.

It should go down as the wildest non-achievement in Philippine sports for 2016.

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GOODWILL HIGH: Out in Lipa City on Thursday, there was a record outpouring of love and goodwill. This happened after kind-hearted citizens, like sportsman Bambi Rivilla and Lipa go-to guy Bart Mayor learned about the problems besetting organizers of an annual gift-giving for humble farm families in Barangay Pangao. Rivilla and Mayo readily came to the rescue by sending boxes of canned goods.  Engr. Mar Maralit, on his way to help out with his son Bishop Junie Maralit of Boac, up on his toes rescuing typhoon victims in Marinduque, made a turn-around and delivered two huge boxes of sardines.  Trader Nick Lantin, a favorite son of Lipa, rushed to the event site with hefty bags of assorted goodies. Meanwhile, Dr. Bobby Magsino, head of the Good Samaritan Foundation from the Mary Mediatrix Medical Center, brought gifts for over 50 families. So touched was Dr. Ruel Reyes of San Pablo City that he made his son Gio to vow he would continue helping out indefinitely.

TAGS: Hidilyn Diaz, Johnriel Casimero, Manny Pacquiao, MARLON Tapales, Muhammad Ali, Rio Olympics

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