PSC chairman Butch Ramirez presided in a zoom meeting of the screening and review committees of the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame the other day, preparatory to the fourth induction tentatively set on May 29. Ramirez took the opportunity to put in perspective the rationale behind the creation of R.A. 8757 establishing the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame in 1999 as he explained why it’s vital to uplift the country’s spirit through the inspiration of sports.
“Sports is consequential,” he said. “Playing sports is part of a country’s history in forging unity. I believe if our leaders imbibe the values and virtues of sports, our country will be great not only in Asia but in the world. We have many problems. We’ve been under Spain and the US. We’re divided into over 7,000 islands with so many dialects but sports can do something great to unite our people. If you study the history of sports, going back to the formation of the Olympics in Greece, you’ll learn about virtues, values and how sports can unite countries and the world.” It’s in this spirit that the Sports Hall of Fame, where the country’s outstanding athletic heroes are enshrined, was conceived, Ramirez pointed out.
So far, the PSC has organized three inductions. The tradition is a maximum of 10 athletes or teams would be enshrined at a time to preserve the Hall’s exclusivity and prestige. The inaugural batch of 2010 cited Anthony Villanueva,
Caloy Loyzaga, Ceferino Garcia, Flash Elorde, Cely Villanueva, Miguel White, Pancho Villa, Teofilo Yldefonso, Simeon Toribio and the 1954 Philippine basketball team that took the bronze medal at the FIBA World Cup in Brazil. The second group should’ve been inducted two years later but was recognized only in 2016. To make up for the missing years, it was decided to cite up to 20 athletes. However, the PSC recognized only 17 in the second batch – Inocencia Solis, Isaac Gomez, Mona Sulaiman, Ed Ocampo, Kurt Bachmann, Nano Tolentino, Eugene Torre, Rey Deyro, Totoy Ampon, Chito Feliciano, Martin Gison, Ral Rosario, Mohammad Aala, Jacinto Cayco, Haydee Coloso-Espino and Salvador del Rosario. In 2018, the inductees were Erbito Salavarria, Boy Codiñera, Ben Arda, Lita de la Rosa, Paeng Nepomuceno, Bong Coo, Bonnie Carbonell, Ambrosio Padilla, Josephine de la Vina and Lydia de Vega.
So far, 37 athletes have been nominated for the fourth batch. Deadline for nominations, which are open to the public, is Jan. 31. The review committee is
composed of journalists Ed Andaya, Jun Lomibao, Tito Talao, Dodo Catacutan, Tessa Jazmines, Rey Bancod, Joe Antonio and this writer. The screening committee is made up of Ramirez, GAB chairman Baham Mitra, POC president Rep. Bambol Tolentino, POC representative Atty. Ed Gastanes, Philippine Olympians Association president Akiko Thomson, UAAP executive director Atty. Rebo Saguisag and NSA representative Atty. Billy Sumagui. The PSC set a range of 1924-94 as the years when the nominees for the fourth batch achieved their sports accomplishments. For the fifth batch, the range will be advanced by 10 years.
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