PRO golfer Yuka Saso has vowed to provide inspiration to Philippine sports in the light of the mounting challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Patuloy po akong magbibigay ng karangalan sa ating bansa. Mabuhay ang atletang Pilipino,” Saso, 19, said in her acceptance speech from Japan after being recognized as the Athlete of the Year Saturday during the San Miguel Corporation-Philippine Sportswriters Association Awards Night at the TV5 Media Center.
Saso considered her second Athlete of the Year Award in the last three years as a big honor to her career and family. She received the same award from the country’s oldest media organization in 2018, sharing it with fellow golfers Biance Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go, along with Olympic silver medal winner Hidilyn Diaz.
“Maraming salamat sa Philippine Sportswriters Association sa pagbigay at pagkilala sa akin bilang Athlete of the Year ulit,” she added.
Saso is currently campaigning in the rich Japan LPGA Tour and is eyeing to clinch a spot in the coming Tokyo Olympics as she is currently ranked no. 44 in the world.
Also sharing the limelight in the program presented by San Miguel Corporation and backed by the Philippine Sports Commission and Cignal TV were Philippine Olympic Committee President Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino as recipient of the President’s Award, PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial, hailed as Executive of the Year; and the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines, which was named the National Sports Association.
Recognized with Lifetime Achievement Awards were the late ambassador and basketball godfather Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, former PBA commissioner and Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas Executide Director Renauld “Sonny” Barrios, and former Project Gintong Alay director Jose Romasanta.
PSC chairman William “Butch” Ramirez, the keynote speaker in the first virtual awards night in PSA history hosted by Gretchen Ho and Paolo Del Rosario, lauded the Filipino athletes for “keeping their stars shine even brighter in this dark times.