Basketball, jiujitsu bodies earn PSA nod as NSAs of the year
JAN. 29 AWARDS NIGHT

Basketball, jiujitsu bodies earn PSA nod as NSAs of the year

/ 05:10 AM January 12, 2024

 

Meggie Ochoa (background)demolished Balqees Abdulla of the United Arab Emirates in the -48 kg fifinals of the Asian Games. —ASIAD POOL PHOTO

Meggie Ochoa (background) demolished Balqees Abdulla of the United Arab Emirates in the -48 kg fifinals of the Asian Games. —ASIAD POOL PHOTO

The year that passed saw many firsts as far as Philippine sports is concerned, and two national federations just stood out in that span.

After the successful staging of the Fiba (International Basketball Federation) World Cup in Manila and Gilas Pilipinas’ triumphant campaign in the Hangzhou Asian Games (Asiad) in China, the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) gave the country shining moments on the world stage.

And after grapplers Meggie Ochoa and Annie Ramirez pocketed two of Team Philippines’ Asiad gold medals, the Jiu-Jitsu Federation of the Philippines (JFP) was also a no-brainer to share the National Sports Associations (NSAs) of the Year award to be handed out in the San Miguel Corporation-Philippine Sportswriters Association (SMC-PSA) Awards Night.

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Headed by Al S. Panlilio, the SBP has been the recipient of the award several times in the past, while this will be the first for JFP led by Ferdinand Agustin to be recognized with the prestigious honor given out by the country’s oldest media organization under its president, Nelson Beltran, the sports editor of The Philippine Star. To be held Jan. 29 at the Grand Ballroom of Diamond Hotel, the blue-ribbon event is presented by ArenaPlus, the leading sports entertainment gateway in the Philippines, together with the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, MILO, Cignal and PLDT/Smart as major sponsors.

EJ Obiena, the second-ranked pole vaulter in the world, is the sports body’s Athlete of the Year, with Ramon S. Ang of San Miguel Corporation and Manny V. Pangilinan of Smart-PLDT sharing the Executive of the Year award.

The 7 p.m. gala is also backed by 1-Pacman party list Rep. Mikee Romero, Rain or Shine, Premier Volleyball League and the Philippine Basketball Association.

End of drought

The SBP was at the forefront of the Philippines’ successful cohosting of the Fiba World Cup, which the country staged for the first time after 45 years.

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Gilas Pilipinas then ended 61 years of waiting when it finally bagged the long-cherished gold in the Asiad, highlighted by its dramatic 77-76 come-from-behind victory over host and defending champion China in the semis, and an 80-70 beating of Jordan in the finals.

The men’s team also successfully regained the basketball gold in the Southeast Asian Games by holding off a Cambodia side heavily laden with naturalized players, 80-69, in the championship game.

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In between, Gilas also earned one of three Asian berths for the qualifying tournament of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Meanwhile, the two golds won by the gifted grapplers reciprocated the same output the women’s golf team of Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go won during the 2018 edition of the Asiad in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The pair of golds was likewise a breakthrough for jiujitsu in the continental showpiece.

During the World Combat Games in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the sport accounted for one of the three golds won by the country through Kaila Napolis.

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And in a victory that warmed the hearts, young prodigy Aielle Aguilar repeated as world champion with her triumph in the Girls Kids 2 White Belt 17-kilogram category of the Abu Dhabi World Festival Jiu-jitsu Championships in the UAE.

TAGS: Basketball, jiujitsu, Meggie Ochoa

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