PSA AWARDS: Torres heads 2011 Top Achievers
MANILA, Philippines—A record leap earned long jump queen Marestella Torres another distinction in the Philippine Sportswriters Association Awards Night on March 3 at the Manila Hotel.
Torres, who shattered the long jump record in the 2011 Southeast Asian Games, leads seven athletes set to receive the Top Achievers award in the annual gathering of top sports personalities.
Also to be conferred with the same honor are Darwin Dela Calzada (baseball), Oliver Barbosa (chess), Rachel Daquis (volleyball), Monica Torres and Nikko Huelgas (triathlon) and John Paul Lizardo (taekwondo).
The Top Achievers award, the brainchild of PSA president Rey Bancod of Tempo, aims to recognize Filipino athletes who excelled in their respective field of sports.
Vice President Jejomar Binay will serve as guest speaker in the gala night, which will fete reigning super bantamweight world champion Nonito Donaire Jr. and world No. 1 pool player Dennis Orcollo as Athletes of the Year.
Torres registered 6.71 meters in the long jump competition of the 2011 SEA Games in Palembang, Indonesia, to top the event for the fourth straight time.
Lizardo similarly shone in the SEA Games by ruling the flyweight division to lead the taekwondo team’s four gold-medal haul.
In the same regional event, Dela Calzada served as the winning pitcher in the baseball team’s golden romp. The former University of the Philippines standout also suited up in the national squad’s title run in the 2005 edition.
Triathlon’s Torres, meanwhile, topped the Filipino elite category of the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines for the third straight time and won the Elite Triathlete of the Year, while Huelgas, team captain of the men’s triathlon team, also had an impressive year that earned him the honor to carry the country’s flag in the Guangzhou Asian Games.
Barbosa picked up his Grandmaster title last year, highlighted by his big jump in the Elo ratings where he breached the 2600 mark, while Daquis copped the Finals MVP in leading Philippine Army to the V-League Season 8 Open Conference championship.
PSA Presidential Achievement awardee Juvic Pagunsan and Executive of the Year Ricky Vargas will also be recognized in the formal bash presented by Smart and backed by Harbour Centre, Milo, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Basketball Association, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, ICTSI, SM Prime Holdings and Coca-Cola.
Other winners—Major Awardees: Brian Viloria (pro boxing), Ana Julaton (pro boxing), Donnie Nietes (pro boxing), Mark Anthony Barriga (amateur boxing), Efren “Bata” Reyes (billiards), Rubilen Amit (billiards), Jessie Aligaga (wushu), Dembert Arcita (wushu), Dragon Boat team, Jimmy Alapag (pro basketball), Calvin Abueva (amateur basketball), Bobby Parks Jr. (amateur basketball), Jhonnel Ababa (pro golf), Dottie Ardina (amateur golf), Rupert Zaragosa (amateur golf), Magna Carta (Horse of the Year), Jesse Guce (Jockey of the Year), Kenneth San Andres (motocross), Malvinne Ann Alcala (badminton).