The man responsible for bringing together Gilas Pilipinas shares center stage with the nation’s modern-day cage heroes when they are honored by the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) with the 2013 Athlete of the Year award during its Annual Awards Night two weeks from now.
The honorable Manny V. Pangilinan will be recognized with the Executive of the Year award by the country’s oldest media organization in a formal affair presented by MILO with Air21 as major sponsor on Jan. 25 at the Centennial Hall of the Manila Hotel.
As head of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), Pangilinan spearheaded a memorable season that saw the sport flourished even more among hoops-crazy Filipinos.
The highlight of it all was the country’s return to the world championship after a long 35 years of waiting following the surprise runner-up finish in the FIBA-Asia Men’s Championship by Gilas Pilipinas, a team whose build up, preparation, and training overseas were all bankrolled by the man they simply called `MVP.’
It was also through Pangilinan’s relentless prodding and campaigning that the qualifier to the FIBA-World Cup in Spain was finally held here again 40 years since the Philippines last hosted the prestigious meet in 1973.
“We can’t think of any other persons worthy of the Executive of the Year award than Mr. Manny V. Pangilinan himself,” said PSA president Jun Lomibao of the Business Mirror.
Pangilinan, chairman of the Philippine Long Distance Company/Smart and TV5, is only the fourth esteemed personality who will be honored with the award during the formal gathering the PSA is hosting in partnership with Smart Sports, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Basketball Association, Accel at3XVI, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., Globalport, Air21, Rain or Shine, ICTSI-Philippine Golf Tour, and Senator Chiz Escudero.
Previous recipients of the PSA Executive Award include Philippine Azkals team manager Dan Palami, Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines (ABAP) president Ricky Vargas, and PBA commissioner Chito Salud.
Together with Pangilinan and Gilas Pilipinas, a total of 123 personalities and entities representing the best and brightest of the year just passed will be conferred with Major Awards, NSA of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award, Milo Junior Athlete Awards, Sixth Man Award, Mr. Football, Miss Volleyball, and Tony Siddayao Award for deserving youth athletes.
Citations will also be given to a long list of individuals led by the gold medalists of the recent Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar , while posthumous awards are to be bestowed on dearly departed friends of Philippine sports.