RSA fetes Filipino athletes, says Paris breakthrough possible

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Longtime sports patron Ramon S. Ang believes the country is geared to win more golds in the coming Paris Olympics as he paid tribute to all Filipino athletes, particularly those who were honored during the recent Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Awards.

Ang, San Miguel Corporation (SMC) President and Chief Executive Officer, received his second PSA Executive of the Year award and this time, he shared it with Metro Pacific Investments Corporation  (MPIC) Chairman and President Manny V. Pangilinan as their partnership paved the way for the Asiad basketball gold.

He said the upcoming OIympiad will mark the 100th year of Philippines’ participation as the country looks to replicate the feat of gold-winning weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz in the Tokyo Games.

“Everything is possible when all the country’s stakeholders work together. It was just three years ago when Hidilyn Diaz shone in Tokyo for our first gold in the Olympics. And just last year, we grabbed the Asian Games gold in basketball that eluded us for 60 years. So I think another breakthrough is possible,” Ang said.

“That gold medal was the result of the hard work and effort of not just the players and coaching staff, but most especially, MVP himself. The Gilas Pilipinas program is really his brainchild, and without his vision, commitment, and patriotism to see the program through all these years, we probably would not have a champion Gilas team,” Ang said.

“We are proud to have been given the opportunity to be part of it, and we thank MVP for lifting Philippine basketball to greater heights,” he added.

At the invitation of Pangilinan, Ang supported the country’s successful co-hosting of the FIBA Basketball World Cup, when Philippine team shared the spotlight with the world’s best basketball teams.

“I thank the PSA for the honor and dedicate it to the Gilas Pilipinas team who worked so hard to bring home the gold medal in the face of tough odds,” Ang, who was first conferred with the PSA Executive of the Year Award in 2017, said.

He added: “ I hope the amazing feat of Philippine basketball team will also inspire our athletes to go for more gold medals in Paris.” 

Olympian and pole vaulter EJ Obiena led those who were feted during the annual awards conducted by the country’s oldest sportswriting organization.

Also honored were Philippine Women’s Football team Filipinas, Asian Games gold medalists Meggie Ochoa and Annie Ramirez June Mar Fajardo (Mr. Basketball), Tots Carlos (Ms. Volleyball), Sarina Bolden (Ms. Football), and Alex Eala (Ms. Tennis).

To honor the country’s Olympic medal winners in Tokyo, Ang provided P22 million in incentives, including P10 million to weightlifter Diaz. Boxers Carlo Paalam and Nesthy Petecio  also got P5 million each for winning silver medals while Eumir Marcial earned P2 million for his bronze medal feat.

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