Elect ex-Sen Tañada, May­ors Lac­son and Asis­tio, others to Sports Hall of Fame

Manila Times - - SPORTS - ED­DIE G. ALINEA

THISOUTSIDER had just com pleted run­ning a se­ries of ar­ti­cles on the hero­ics Filipino ath­letes in the Far Eastern Games, a three-na­tion mul­ti­event sport­ing meet among the finest and the best ath­letes from China, Ja­pan and the Philip­pines. The Games were ac­knowl­edged as pre­cur­sor of the now Asian Games held ev­ery two year from 1913 to 1934 hosted al­ter­nately by those three coun­tries.

Sooner or later be­fore the term of this ad­min­is­tra­tion ex­pires, the Philip­pine Sport Com­mis­sion and he Philip­pine Olympic Com­mit­tee will be com­ing up with the third batch of nom­i­nees to be en­shrined to the Philip­pine Sports Hall of Fame and join the 27 others ear­lier el­e­vated.

Be­sides pay­ing trib­ute to the Filipino ath­letes’ hero­ics in those Games, the just con­cluded Manila Times se­ries might as well served, too, as guide go those who will be cho­sen to com­pose the panel that will de­cide who should be en­shrined.

2018 be­ing an Asian Games year, that se­ries should also serve as guide for the se­lec­tion of mem­bers of the del­e­ga­tion that will carry the na­tional tri-col­ors in the 18th edi­tion of the ev­ery four-year con­clave set in Jakarta this com­ing Au­gust

For lack of fore­sight or sim­ply ig­no­rance of those en­trusted to do the se­lec­tion to the first of batches of in­ductees, no one among our Far Eastern Games heroes were even nom­i­nated. Like, for in­stance Regino Ylanan, who for win­ning the multi-event pen­tathlon, dis­cus throw and shot put in the first edi­tion 1913,was ac­corded the honor as Asia’s “First Man of Steel, ” and sprinter Pio Ro­bil­los, who for sweep­ing the 100-yard and 100-yard dashes earned the “Asia’s First Fastest Man” ti­tle.

Fol­low­ing the dis­man­tling of the Games, no other Filipino ath­letes were awarded the dis­tinc­tion as the re­gion’s “Man of Steel“nor the fastest, ex­cept for Ino­cen­cia So­lis, Mona Su­laiman and Lydia de Vega who, a one time or an­other, were crowned “Asian Sprint Queens.

Many more fol­lowed in Ylanan’s and Ro­bil­los’ foot­steps, among them, For­tu­nato Cat­alon, Ro­bil­los’ heir ap­par­ent who dom­i­nated he sprints from 1917, 1919, 1921 and 1923, cager Jovito Gon­za­les, a mem­ber of the na­tional bas­ket­ball team six times, win­ning the gold medal five times, Mar­i­ano Filomeno, Au­gusto Bautista (5 times), Vi­cente Avena and Jose Beng­zon, who, be­sides shin­ing as an ath­lete also be­came sec­re­tary of jus­tice.

And how can one miss Luis Sal­vador bas­ket­ball player-turned en­ter­tainer who shot a record 116 points, which up to the present time is rec­og­nized as the high­est made in in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

What about the 1930 and 1934 bas­ket­ball teams, headed by then se­na­tor-to-be Am­bro­sio Padilla, which also rep­re­sented the coun­try in the 1936 Ber­lin Olympic Games where it ended up fifth in­stead of sec­ond de­spite los­ing only one game to even­tual cham­pion he United States.

Mem­bers of the 1930 and 1934 FEG teams who, like­wise, donned the na­tion’s flag in the 1936 Olympics, be­sides Padilla were Jac­into Ciria Cruz, Bib­iano Ouano Franco Mar­qui­cias and Prim­i­tivo Martinez.

Sev­eral other ath­letes, like Sec. Beng­zon turned suc­cess­ful politi­cians – ex-Manila Mayor Arse­nio Lac­son and for­mer Se­na­tor Lorenzo Tanada, both mem­ber of PH foot­ball teams one time or an­other. High jumper Simeon Toribio, al­ready a Hall of Famer, also earned his spur in the FEG be­fore bag­ging a bronze medal in the 1932 Los An­ge­les Olympics. Ex-Caloocan Mayor Ma­ca­sio Asis­tio Sr. was also a vet­eran FEG cam­paigner in vol­ley­ball.

Others who must be con­sid­ered for nom­i­na­tion in the Hall are, among others Ge­naro Saave­dra, Con­stantino Rabaya, Alejo Al­varez, Fran­cisco Danao, Valentin Mali­nao and Ni­cholas Machan,

Also add Lino, and Es­camos, Si­mon San­tos, Juan Tadu­ran, Emilio Bu­coy, Rufini Ber­tulfo, Gen­eroso Rabaya, Anselmo Gonzaga, Felizardo Ca­sia, Pe­dro Yatar, Rafael de Leon, Fer­min Gan­dara, all in track and field.

Jose “Cely” Vil­lanueva, fa­ther of 1964 sil­ver medal win­ner Anthony Vil­lanueva was also a vet­eran FEG cam­paigner be­fore win­ning a bronze medal in the 1932 L.A. Olympic Games, where, in­ci­den­tally, the Philip­pines fash­ioned out it best per­for­mance in the qua­dren­nial con­clave with here bronze medals, in­clud­ing Te­ofilo Ylde­fonso’s in swim­ming.

Ylde­fonso, like Toribio had also been in­ducted in the Hall ear­lier Far Eastern Games vet­eran, also won a bronze in 1928, mak­ing him the only Filipino two-time Olympic medal­list.

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