THREE sportsmen considered among the pillars of Philippine sports will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award during the SMC-Philippine Sportswriters Association virtual Awards Night.
The late ambassador and former San Miguel Corp. chairman and CEO Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, one-time Gintong Alay Project director Jose A. Romasanta, and former PBA Commissioner Renauld “Sonny” Barrios are the three new recipients of the special award to be handed out by the country’s oldest media organization in the March 27 event at the TV5 Media Center.
The three respected personalities join unanimous Athlete of the Year choice Yuka Saso in the short but compact list of awardees that will be recognized in the first PSA virtual awards co-presented by the Philippine Sports Commission and Cignal TV, with 1-Pacman Partylist and Rain or Shine as major backers.
A year ago, pool legend Efren “Bata” Reyes was bestowed the Lifetime Achievement Award, joining a long and storied list of previous honorees that included Caloy Loyzaga, Virgilio “Baby” Dalupan, Florencio Campomanes, Mauricio Martelino, Francisco Elizalde, Carlos Padilla, Filomeno “Boy” Codinera, and the 1973 Philippine men’s basketball team, among others.
Although known more as a businessman and political figure, Cojuangco served as a long-time supporter of Philippine basketball and was designated as godfather of the Philippine men’s team during the time of the late President Marcos.
Under his watch, he put together the blueprint that gave rise to the Northern Consolidated Corp basketball program under the late great coach Ron Jacobs, and bannered by the country’s top amateur players and three naturalized player.
As a result, Philippine basketball saw a big resurgence in international campaigns, winning the 1982 Asian Youth Championship at the Araneta Coliseum, the 1984 Asian Interclub Championship, 1985 Jones Cup and Southeast Asian Games, before culminating with a triumphant campaign in the 1985 FIBA-Asia Championship, marking the last time the country topped the biennial cagefest.