BANKING ON an unprecedented 149-gold medal romp at the recent 30th Southeast Asian Games, Team Philippines emerged as the unanimous choice to receive the prestigious 2019 Athlete of the Year award from the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA). While many athletes shone individually, it was the collective effort that earned the nod from the country’s top editors and writers from broadsheets, tabloids and websites.
This marks only the second that an entire athletic delegation was bestowed with the honor. Back in 2005, the PSA recognized Team Philippines for capturing the overall championship for the first time at the 23rd Southeast Asian Games which the country also hosted.
The formal ceremony will be at the SMC-PSA Annual Awards Night scheduled for March 6 at the historic Manila Hotel. The said event is presented and made possible by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), MILO, Cignal TV and the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
“The choice of Team Philippines as 2019 PSA Athlete of the Year has never been as unanimous,” explained PSA President Tito Talao of the Manila Bulletin. “It was felt the least the PSA can do to honor the men and women who brought singular distinction to the country during the 30th SEA Games is to give them the one resounding, united vote.”
All the SEA Games gold medal winners will be given citations together with the other major awards traditionally handed out like the President’s Award, Executive of the Year and National Sports Association of the Year. There will also be awardees for specific sports like Basketball, Volleyball, Golf and Football as well as Lifetime Achievement Award, Tony Siddayao Award, MILO Junior Athletes Award plus posthumous awards in memory of sporting personalities who recently passed away.