TEN of the country’s greatest athletes in the past seven decades, led by basketball great Ambrosio Padilla and baseball legend Filomeno “Boy” Codiñera, will be formally enshrined in the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame in fitting ceremonies at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) next month.
Padilla, the team captain of the Philippine basketball team which finished fifth in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and Codiñera, the first Filipino player to be cited in the Guinness Book of Word Records after hitting seven consecutive doubles in the 1968 Men’s Softball World Championship in Oklahoma, were unanimous selections during the extensive, three-month long deliberations conducted by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
Padilla, long considered as the Father of Philippine basketball after the establishment of the Basketball Association of the Phililippines (BAP) in 1936, and Codiñera, best remembered for his grand slam home run against Mexico during the 1972 Men’s Softball World Championship in Marikina, earned the most number of votes of the 10-member screening and review committee.
No less than PSC chairman William “Butch” Ramirez announced the selection of Padilla, Codiñera and eight other distinguished Filipino athletes who brought pride and joy in the wonderful world of sports.
“It is with pride that I announce the 10 newest members of the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame,” said Ramirez.
The induction ceremony is set on Nov.22, 6 p.m. at the PICC.
Three champion bowlers -- four-time World Cup champion Rafael “Paeng” Nepomuceno, 1978 Asian Games gold medalist Olivia “Bong” Coo and 1979 FIQ gold medalist Lita de la Rosa--will join Padilla and Codiñera in the honor roll.
Also making it to the elite list were two-time Asian Games sprint champion Lydia de Vega-Mercado, golf giant Ben Arda, track and field star Josephine de la Vina, basketball hero Loreto Carbonell and boxing champion Erbito Salavarria.
Nepomuceno is the winningest Filipino bowler in history with four World Cup titles in 1976, 1980, 1992 and 1996; Coo was a gold medal winner in the 1978 Asian Games in Thailand and World FIQ in 1979 in Manila; De la Rosa topped the World Cup in Bogota, Colombia in 1978; De Vega was Asia’s fastest woman in 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi, India; Arda emerged as Asia Golf Circuit champion in 1970 and World Cup qualifier 16 times; De la Vina was gold medalist in the 1966 Asian Games and 1973 Asian Championships; Carbonell was gold medalist in 1958 Tokyo Asian Games and 1960 Manila FIBA Asia Championships; and Salavarria was flyweight boxing king from 1970 to 1975.
Aside from Ramirez, the other members of the PSC Sports Hall of Fame screening and review committee are GAmes and Amusement Board (GAB) chairman Baham Mitra, Akiko Thomson of the Philippine Olympian Association; Ed Piczon, Bernie Atienza and Pearl Managuelod, who represented the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC); and sports editors Dodo Catacutan Spin.Ph, Teddyvic Melendres of Inquirer, Jun Lomibao of Business Mirror, Randy Caluag of Ripples and Ed Andaya of People’s Tonight.
All 10 Hall of Fame inductees will receive P100,000 and a finely-crafted trophy based on Republic Act 8757 signed by President Estrada on Nov. 25, 1999.
The past Hall of Fame enshrinees are:
First batch (May , 2010) --Simeon Toribio (athletics), Miguel White (athletics), Carlos Loyzaga (basketball), Ceferino Garcia (boxing), Gabriel Elorde (boxing), Jose Villanueva (boxing) Pancho Villa (boxing), Anthony Villanueva (boxing), Teofilo Yldefonso (swimming) and the 1954 Philippine men’s basketball team.
Second batch (January 2016) -- Inocencia Solis (athletics), Isaac Gomez (athletics), Mona Sulaiman (Athletics), Ed Ocampo (basketball), Kurt Bachmann (basketball), Mariano Tolentino (basketball), Eugene Torre (chess), Raymundo Deyro (tennis), Jonny Jose (tennis), Felicisimo Ampon (tennis), Adolfo Feliciano (shooting), Martin Gison (shooting), Ral Rosario (swimming), Mohammad Mala (swimming), Jacinto Cayco (swimming), Haydee Coloso-Espino (swimming) and Salvador del Rosario (weightlifting).