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Thursday, April 8, 2021

Best Sports Personality In Every Philippine Provinces and Metro Manila Cities

The Philippines has produced great personalities maybe legendary in the world of sports with the likes of Gabriel "Flash" Elorde and yet the Southeast Asian country has yet to win the elusive Olympic gold already won by its neighboring Southeast Asian nations Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The country has been lagging behind in sports in the recent few decades compared to its neighboring countries. What is needed in the country is the full and generous support of the government through financial funding and support, legislation and sport policies favoring sports and athletes in the country, grassroots developments and training, world-class venues and facilities for training of athletes and other supports given are just some of the things needed to revitalized and build up a strong team for multi-sporting events such as the Asian and the Olympic Games. These are the best athletes produced by each Philippine province and Metro Manila cities.

Abra  - Paul Alvarez (Basketball)

A native of Bangued and was born on June 15, 1968, Paul Alvarez is a prominent figure in Philippine basketball. He started basketball at the young age of 17 in high school where he was made a star player of his school's UM Hawklets. His playing style was discovered by San Sebastian College coach Francis Rodriguez who signed him to the college's varsity team in 1985. As a rookie player, he helped win the college's second NCAA Championship trophy. In 1987, he is one of the chosen college players to represent the Philippines in the ABC Youth Championships in Manila. He then became a member of the national team to the William Jones Cup in Taipei, Southeast Asian Games in Jakarta, and ABC Youth Championship in Bangkok. 

He turned pro in 1989 and was drafted third overall by the Alaska Milk team. In his sophomore year, Alvarez shattered the record for the most points by an individual in a single game currently held at that time by Allan Caidic. He has thrown in 71 points in Alaska's 169-138 victory over Formula Shell on April 26, 1990. That same year, he made it to the Mythical Five selection for the first time but an injury on his Achilles heel felled him in Game 3 of the 1990 PBA Third Conference Finals against Purefoods. 

He played for the Alaska Milk team for quite a number of years before being traded to other teams including Sta. Lucia Realty, Shell, San Miguel, and Ginebra.

Honorable Mentions: Jerome Barbosa (Basketball), Andy de Guzman (Basketball), Bong Valera (Basketball)

Agusan del Norte - Johnny Arcilla (Tennis)

Johnny Arcilla is a tennis wonderboy from Butuan who was a nine-time champion of the Philippine Columbian Association Open Tennis Championship. He also represented the country in several international tennis competitions. He won his first PCAOTC title at the age of 21 while his last title he won in 2019 at the age of 39. He achieved his highest world ranking (1288) last August 2, 2010. His current world ranking is 1788. 

Honorable Mentions: Ardy Larong (Basketball), Zaldy Realubit (Basketball)

Agusan del Sur -

Aklan - Christian Tio (kiteboarding)

Christian Tio who hails from Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan is a teenager who rose to prominence after winning the Asian qualifying twin tip racing event in Pranburi, Thailand, and hence the rights to represent the country in Summer Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He won the silver medal at the Summer Youth Games and the distinction of giving the Philippines its first medal in the Summer Youth Olympics. 

Honorable Mentions: Kyla Soguilon (Swimming), Harold Arboleda (Basketball)

AlbayMiguel White (Athletics)

This great athlete who is a native of Legazpi, Albay made stellar performances in the tracks. He won the bronze medal in 400-meter hurdles and silver medals in both 4 x 200 and 4 x 400 meter runs in the 1930 Far Eastern Championship Games in Tokyo and a gold medal in 400-meter hurdles in the 1934 Far Eastern Championship Games in Manila. He finally won the bronze medal for his pet event - the 400-meter hurdles at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games just behind the eventual winner Glenn Hardin of the USA and John Loaring of Canada, respectively. His colorful life in the field was abruptly cut short by the advent of the war and eventually, he was killed in action during the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in World War II thereby ending his short but meaningful career. So far, he is one of only two Filipino Olympic medalists in athletics, the other one is Simeon Toribio in the high jump. 

Honorable Mentions: William "Bogs" Adornado (Basketball), Janelle Mae Frayna (Chess), Almond Vosotros (Basketball), Renato "ATO" Morano (Basketball), Nathan B. Casimiro (Bodybuilding), Gilbert Bulawan (Basketball), Jay-r Reyes (Basketball), Mark Borboran 

Antique - Marian Capadocia (Tennis)

A talented Antiqueña hard-court player, Marian Capadocia started to play tennis at eight years of age. She became the number one junior tennis player of the Philippines in 2011 at age 16. She also represented the Philippines and won some tournaments in some international tennis circuits. 

Honorable Mentions: Remegio Vista (Athletics), Richard Yee (Basketball)

Apayao - Ruthlaine Tacula (Basketball)

She is the leading player of the National University basketball team in the UAAP games. 

Aurora -

Basilan - Jimar Aing (Athletics)

Basilan's best athlete Jimar Aing shines bright in track and field when he dominated the men's 400-meter run in the 23rd Southeast Asian Games in Manila in 2005. Prior to the SEAG stint, he competed in Asian Athletics Championship in Manila in 2003 in the 100, 200 and 400-meter run and after the 2005 SEA Games, he competed in the 2007 Asian Athletics Championship in Amman, Jordan in 4x400 meter relay. 

Honorable Mentions: Ryan Papa (Swimming), Anwar Abdulmajid (Swimming), Marlon Avenido (Taekwondo), Victor Valbuena (Table Tennis)

Bataan - Gary David (Basketball)

Another famed cager, Gary David who hails from Bataan, was a five-time All-Star player who currently holds the longest streak of consecutive games scoring 20 points or higher. Hailed as "El Granada", he is widely hailed as one of PBA's best scorers of all time by the Philippine Basketball Association Hall of Fame. 

Honorable Mentions: Kerby Raymundo (Basketball)

Batanes - Freddie Hubalde (Basketball)

Freddie Hubalde is one of the pioneering players of the Philippine Basketball Association, Asia's oldest men's professional basketball league. He played for Crispa Redmanizers who brought the team to grand slam titles in 1976 and 1983 while earning himself an MVP (Most Valuable Player) award in 1977. In 2000, he was named as one of PBA's 25 Greatest Players. 

Honorable Mentions: Martina Aguada (Athletics), Joel Calma Dualan (Basketball), Jorge Peralta (Basketball)

Batangas - LA Tenorio (Basketball)

He is a basketball player and is an assistant coach of Letran Knights in NCAA. 

Honorable Mention: Alyssa Valdez (Volleyball)

Benguet - Robert Jaworski (Basketball)

A native of Baguio City, Robert Jaworski is one of the greatest basketball players and coaches of the Philippines. He once holds the record for the "oldest professional basketball player".

Honorable Mention: Eduard Folayang (Mixed Martial Arts), Mark Eddiva (Mixed Martial Arts)

Biliran - Ceferino Garcia (Boxing)

The pride of Naval, Biliran, Ceferino Garcia is one of the greatest Filipino pugilists of all time. He holds the record for the most number of wins by a Filipino prizefighter at 118, 74 of which are knockouts. He suffered 30 losses while only getting 14 draws in his entire career. He is credited as the first to widely use the technique, "bolo punch" which was later popularized by the Cuban fighter, Kid Gavilan. He is the only Filipino to become a world champion in the middleweight division. 

Bohol - Simeon Toribio (Athletics)*
He is one of only two Filipino Olympic medalists in athletics (the other one being Miguel White). He won the bronze medal in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. In the previous 1928 Amsterdam Olympic Games, he cleared the bar of the same height with the eventual silver and bronze medalists, Benjamin Hedges and Claude Menard but lost the jump-off and eventually placed fourth. He also won the gold medal in the high jump in the Far Eastern Championship Games of 1927, 1930, 1934 in Shanghai, Tokyo, and Manila, respectively. He was given the title "Asia's Greatest Athlete" in 1930. He was the Philippines' flag bearer at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games Opening Ceremony where he finished 12th in the games. Born in Zamboanga City and settled in Carmen, Bohol, he was elected to the House of Representatives representing the second district of Bohol in 1941 and served in that post until 1953.

Honorable Mention: Nonito Donaire (Boxing)

Boholano Nonito Donaire won multiple world champions in four weight classes making him one of the few Asian boxers to win world titles in at least four (4) different weight classes. He held the IBF flyweight title from 2007 - 2009, the unified WBC and WBO bantamweight titles in 2011, IBF super bantamweight title in 2012, WBO super bantamweight title twice between 2012 and 2016, WBA super featherweight title in 2014, and the WBA super bantamweight title from 2018 to 2019. 

Bukidnon - Carlo Paalam (Boxing)

Carlo Paalam is a young rising star of boxing who rose to prominence in the Southeast Asian Games winning the gold medal in the light flyweight division in 2019. He is now seeking a berth for the 32nd Summer Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. 

Honorable Mention: Frankie Minoza (Golf) *

Bulacan - Lydia de Vega (Athletics)

Known as Asia's sprint queen and one of the greatest Filipino track athletes, Meycauayan native Lydia de Vega first showed her prominence in Palarong Pambansa during her younger years before she was noticed and enlisted in the Gintong Alay Program of President Marcos in 1979. She then runs away with her first two gold medals in the 200 and 400 meter run during the 11th Southeast Asian Games in 1981 in Manila shattering the records in the process. She then went on to win several other gold and silver medals in both 100 and 200 meters in Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games, and Asian Athletics Championship and winning her lone long jump gold medal in the 1987 Southeast Asian Games in Jakarta. She also represented the Philippines in both the 1984 and 1988 Summer Olympic Games. One of her shining moments came in the 14th Southeast Asian Games when she won the women's 100 meters run shattering the previous record in which she still holds this record up to this day. 

Honorable Mentions: Mark Paragua (Chess), Jose Padilla Jr. (Boxing)

Cagayan - Lerma Bulauitan-Gabito (Athletics)

Track queen Lerma Bulauitan-Gabiton who hails from Peñablanca, Cagayan is a multiple long jump medalist. She won her first medal at the 21st Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2001 placing second with a jump of 6.43 meters. She later went on to win medals mostly silver in Asian Championships and Afro-Asian Games. She won her only gold medal in the long jump during the 22nd Southeast Asian Games held in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2003 leaping 6.21 meters. Her personal best however was achieved in June 2004 in Colombo, Sri Lanka with a mark of 6.56 meters. She also competed in the 100-meter event in the Olympic Games and World Championships. 

Honorable Mentions: Rachel Cabral (Archery), Rommel Adducul (Basketball), Charo Soriano (Volleyball), Philip Butel (Basketball)

Camarines Norte - Genaro Saavedra (Athletics)

There are already some exceptionally talented Filipino athletes who excelled brilliantly when regional multi-sporting events were still in their infancy and Genaro Saavedra was one of them. Genaro Saavedra was a four-time Far Eastern Championship Games gold medalist and is the only person to have won Far Eastern Championship Games gold medals in four separate disciplines. He accomplished this by winning in the second Far Eastern Championship Games biennial meet in Shanghai, China winning in 100 yards, high jump, pole vault, and decathlon and capping another bronze medal to his collection in the long jump in the same games. 

Camarines Sur Johnny Abarrientos (Basketball)

Small but terrible "The Flying A", Johnny Abarrientos was named Most Valuable Player a couple of time playing under Alaska Milkmen. He was also a member of the national team which represented the Philippines in Asian Games earning a bronze medal. 

Honorable Mentions: Claro Pellosis (Athletics)

Camiguin - Abet Guidaben (Basketball)

Mambajao, Camiguin's son Guidaben was part of the fabled Crispa Redmanizer team that won the grand slam title in 1976 and 1983. He was named the Most Valuable Player twice in 1983 and 1987. 

Honorable Mentions: Fernando Baja (Boxing), Dominic Babia (Basketball), Kid Mosqueto (Boxing)

Capiz - Jose Maxian (Boxing)

He is a professional boxer who won WBC and WBF titles in the mini flyweight division. 

Honorable Mentions: Reymark 'Mac' Bello (Basketball), Glenn Peter Yap (Basketball), Nestor Yap (Basketball), Rafael "Rafa" Dinglasan (Basketball), Arturo Orosco (Athletics), Fritz Dorado (Athletics), Fernando and Romeo Aleligay (Athletics), Dandi and Fidel Gallenero (Athletics), Nestor Genodia (Marathon), Dines Dumaan (Pencak Silat), Marly Llorito (Shooting), Nerlyn Huinda (Pencak Silat), Marigen Campos (Athletics), Hanny Jean Delfin and Jenelyn Progio (Athletics), Frederick Tumanon (Chess), Francis Jocson (Chess), Catalino Pestaño, Jr., (Chess)

Catanduanes - Bernabe Concepcion (Boxing)
Virac, Catanduanes native, Bernabe Concepcion captured his first title - the vacant WBO Oriental super bantamweight belt on July 31, 2015 at Cuneta Astrodome, Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines against Tanzanian boxer Juma Fundi. He got his first world title - the WBO featherweight title on August 15, 2009 against Colombian Yogli Herrera where he pounced the latter in a 6-round decision. 

Honorable Mentions: Jose Sumalde (Cycling), Victor Idaba (Cycling), David Magtangob (Boxing), Rudy Tolentino (Volleyball), Serafin Villarete (Swimming)

Cavite - Eric Buhain (Swimming)

Bacoor is proud to have their son Eric Buhain gave pride to the Philippines in the field of swimming. He is a multi-awarded champion swimmer. He won several gold medals as well as two silver medals and five bronze medals in different swimming categories in the Southeast Asian Games. He was also appointed as chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission in 2001 by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In 2005, six months before the 23rd Southeast Asian Games, he was appointed by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as chairman of the Games and Amusement Board, a public agency that handles professional sports and gambling events.

Honorable Mentions: Ranidel Ocampo (Basketball), Terrence Romeo (Basketball)

Cebu - Gabriel "Flash" Elorde (Boxing)

Long before Manny Pacquiao became a legend in boxing, the ever-gifted Bogo, Cebu son Gabriel Elorde rose to prominence to become one of the greatest Filipino boxers of all time. A southpaw, Elorde was nicknamed "The Flash" because of his agility, speed, and boxing skills. He won 89 matches out of his 118 career matches 33 of which were knockouts. He incurred 27 losses and 2 draws.  He won the lineal super featherweight title in 1960. In 1963, he won the inaugural WBC and WBA super featherweight title. He holds the record for the longest title reign in that division spanning seven years. At seven years and three months, Elorde holds the record for the longest-reigning junior lightweight champion. In 1983, he was the first Asian to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He was also enshrined in the World Boxing Hall of Fame. He was also voted as 78th best fighter in the list of 80 Best Fighters of the Last 80 Years by Ring Magazine in 2002. His life story was immortalized in the screen quite a number of times including The Flash Elorde Story (1961). Elorde's style from eskrima has been adopted by many boxers, including his friend Muhammad Ali, which in turn influenced the out boxer style of boxing. 

Honorable Mentions: Ben Arda (Golf), Josephine de la Viña (Athletics)

Compostela Valley -

Cotabato  - Mona Sulaiman (Athletics)

A lightning-fast track star who raced the field way before Lydia de Vega, Mona Sulaiman of Cotabato became Asia's sprint champion for several years and a real queen of the track and field because she excels in various track and field events. Before getting Asia's limelight, she was the first national champion in the pentathlon in 1963. She was also a five-time national champion in the shot put and six-time national champion in 100 and 200-meter event and capping with another national title in the discus throw. During the Fourth Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia in 1962 she romped away from the gold medal in 100 and 200-meter dash becoming Asia's first double gold winner and later became the first Filipino woman to win three gold medals in the same event by winning the 4x100 meter relay event. If that is not enough, she won another bronze medal in shot put in the same 1962 Asian Games. 

The fastest woman in Asia in the 60s, sprint queen Mona Sulaiman ruled the athletics on several occasions.  Her potential in track was discovered when a school official noticed her extraordinary speed while playing a softball game at her school when she was only 15.  She is a product of the Bureau of Public Schools-Interscholastic Athletics Association Games (now called Palarong Pambansa). During her stint at the Bureau of Public Schools-Interscholastic Athletics Association Games of 1959 in Lingayen, Pangasinan, a Far Eastern University coach recruited her. Trained and honed by several coaches including the legendary Ruperto Evangelista, Sulaiman became Asia's phenomenal track star for several years. 

Sulaiman would earn her fame during the 1962 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. There she became renowned for being the first Filipina to win three gold medals in a single event (100 m, 200 m, and 4x100 meter relay) and Asia's first double gold winner in the sprint. She added a bronze medal in shot put in the same event. 

Due to her rugged masculine features and unusual speed and agility, some people questioned her gender which forces her to take a medical check-up prior to the 1966 Asian Games in Bangkok, Thailand for which she refused under the claim it will go against her Muslim faith. 

She retired from competitive play and worked in the private sector until the 1990s when she was hired by the Philippine Sports Commission to serve as consultants for the national athletics team. Sulaiman was inducted into the PSC Hall of Fame in January 2016. 

Davao del Norte - Jerwin Ancajas (Boxing)
The boy wonder from Panabo, Jerwin Ancajas is the current IBF junior bantamweight champion since 2016. He was ranked as the world's fourth-best junior bantamweight by Ring Magazine and Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and the world's fifth-best in junior bantamweight by BoxRec. 

Honorable Mention: Mark Anthony Barriga (Boxing)

Davao del Sur - Nesthy Petecio (Boxing)
One of the Philippines' great female boxers, Nesthy Petecio who hails from the town of Sta. Cruz won several medals and tournaments here and abroad. She won gold medals in the featherweight class in the Southeast Asian Games and World Championship aside from silver medals she got from these tournaments. She garners a silver and a bronze in the bantamweight division in Asian Championships. She will attempt to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Honorable Mention: Sheila Mae Perez (Diving), Daisuke Sato (Football)

Davao Occidental - Baser Amer (Basketball)

Baser Amer is a basketball varsity player playing as a point guard for the San Beda University Red Lions during which it became a two-time NCAA Junior Basketball Champion. He was named the 2009 NCAA Junior's Rookie of the Year and the following year, the 2010 NCAA Juniors' Most Valuable Player. He also became a four-time NCAA Seniors' Basketball Champion and won the 2012 NCAA Seniors' Most Valuable Player. He was part of the national team that won the gold medal in the 2015 and 2017 Southeast Asian Games.

Davao Oriental - Juanito Rubillar (Boxing)

Rubillar was the former WBC Continental Americas light flyweight champion.

Dinagat Islands -

Eastern Samar - Freddie Abuda (Basketball)

He was a former basketball player who plays most for San Miguel Beermen during which his team won the Philippine Basketball Association Championship trophy eight times. He was nicknamed The Scavenger due to most of his points were from a follow-up after rebounding a team player missed shot. 

Honorable Mentions: Jewel Ponferrada (Basketball),  Rodney Basilides Oduya (Basketball)

Guimaras - Rene Herrera (Athletics)

The Jordan, Guimaras native Rene Herrera is the king of the steeplechase when he easily overcomes and sweeps over five gold medals in five successive Southeast Asian Games from 2003 - 2011. He also participated in Summer Olympic Games in a 5000-meter run. 

Honorable Mentions: Jovelyn Gonzaga (Volleyball)

Ifugao - Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta (Paralympic Powerlifter)

Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta who hails from Kiangan gave the Philippines its first-ever Paralympic medal when she won the bronze medal in the -82.5 kg. category of powerlifting at the 2000 Summer Paralympics. She also won gold and silver medals in other competitions like the IWAS World Games, Asian Para, and Southeast  Asian Para Games. 

Honorable Mention: Carl Jammes Martin (Boxer)

Ilocos Norte - Teofilo Yldefonso (Swimming)
Teofilo Yldefonso is a great breaststroke swimmer from Piddig, Ilocos Norte who became the first Filipino and Southeast Asian Olympic medalist and the only Filipino multiple Olympic medalist. He won the bronze medal in the 200-meter breaststroke in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympic Games and 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games. He was known as the "Father of the Modern Breaststroke" for making it more efficient by bringing it closer to the water surface. His unorthodox style of swimming was known as "Yldefonso stroke" has been adapted by pint-size swimmers especially Asians mostly Japanese. 

Honorable Mention: John White Sipin (Baseball), Benny Agbayani (Baseball)

Ilocos Sur - Brian Viloria, Narvacan (Boxing)

The Filipino American boxer whose parents hails from Narvacan, Ilocos Sur is a former unified WBA and WBO flyweight champion and is known as the "The Hawaiian Punch". 

Honorable Mention: Jesus Salud (Boxing)

Iloilo - Paulino Alcantara (Football)

The greatest Ilonggo athlete that ever lived, Paulino Alcantara was born to a Spanish father and an Ilongga mother from Concepcion, Iloilo. When he was three years old, he moved to Barcelona, Spain with his family the same year when Barcelona FC was founded by Joan Gamper. He was set to play for FC Galeno when Joan Gamper discovered him and join the youth team thereafter. He debuted at 15 years, 8 months, and 18 days old on February 25, 1912, against Catala SC at the Campionat de Catalunya (Catalan Football Championships) winning the game 9-0 with Alcantara scoring the first three goals for the team setting the still unbroken record of being the youngest player to ever score for Barcelona FC in an official match. Playing as a forward, he helped win his team the Copa del Rey (Spanish Cup) and Campionat de Catalunya in 1913 and a Campionat de Catalunya in 1916. When his family returned to the Philippines in 1916, he continued his studies and played for the Bohemian Sporting Club where he helped the team win two Philippine championships in 1916 and 1917. In 1917, he was selected to be a part of the Philippines football team for the 1917 Far Eastern Championship Games in Tokyo where he helped the Philippines defeat Japan 15-2, which is still by far the Philippines' biggest winning score in an international match. In a game against Real Sociedad at Les Corts on April 13, 1919, Alcantara scored a "police goal" when a policeman got in the way of a powerful shot ending in both the policeman and the ball at the end of the net. He made his international debut for Spain on October 7, 1921, at the age of 25 against Belgium, and scored both goals in a 2-0 win. In 1922, he was nicknamed "El Rompe Redes" or "Trencaxarxes" (The Net Breaker) after he literally broke the net with a shot during a match against France. He made five appearances and scored six goals for Spain between 1921 and 1927. He became a successful doctor after retiring from playing professionally in 1927. He served as a club director between 1931 and 1934. In 1951, he became a coach and manage a Spanish team for three games. He scored a total of 369 goals in 357 official and friendly matches for Spain, a club record that stood for 87 years. 

Honorable Mentions: Haydee Coloso-Espino (Swimming), Inocencia Solis (Athletics), Nancy Deano (Swimming), Eugene Torre (Chess),  Irish Magno (Boxing), Emelio Caligdong (Football), Wesley So (Chess), Angel Guirado Aldeguer (Football), Ian Araneta (Football), Ferdinand Ravena (Basketball), Kiefer Ravena (Basketball), Kurt Bachmann (Basketball), Denver Cuello (Boxing), Rudy Fernandez (Triathlon) 

Isabela - Mark Telan (Basketball)

Santa Maria, Isabela native Mark Telan is a professional basketball player who brought pride to his hometown and province of Isabela. He is a two-time UAAP Most Valuable Player. As a professional basketball player, he played for Shell Turbo Chargers where he was named Most Improved Player in 2000 while he also played in the All-Stars in the same year. He then played for Talk n Text Phone Pals. He was part of the team that won the PBA Championship Trophy twice (2003 All Filipino Cup and 2010 - 2011 Philippine Cup). He was named as PBA Second Mythical Team for 2004-2005. 

Honorable Mentions: Ricky Calimag (Basketball), Adonis Santa Maria (Basketball)

Kalinga - Jean Claude Saclag, Lubuagan (Wushu)

Jean Claude Saclar is a wushu athlete from Lubuagan town. He first won a bronze medal in the Sanda -60 kg category in 2013 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The following year, he won the silver medal in the same weight class category at the 17th Asian Games 2014 in Incheon, South Korea. Finally, he won his first-ever gold medal at the World Sanda Cup in Jakarta, Indonesia in the same year. Later he became a professional mixed martial arts fighter. 

Honorable Mentions: Jeffrey Ysmael (Taekwondo), Troy Bantiag (Mixed Martial Arts)

La Union - Nancy Navalta (Athletics)

One of the most celebrated but also one of the most controversial athletes of her nation is Nancy Navalta. Born in Luna town, Navalta started running in her town during her 6th grade. She started gaining attention for her speed, agility, built, and stamina. Due to her unusual strength, she was chosen to represent her province in their local sports meet and by winning, claimed to represent the Ilocos region to the Palarong Pambansa 1993 in Ilagan, Isabela where she swiftly ran away the gold medal in women's 100-meter run in a lightning bolt fast of 11.44 seconds a record at that time. The following year she won another gold medal at the annual meet. She was chosen to represent the Philippines in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics when her sexuality was started to be questioned. She underwent a physical test and was deemed not fit to play under her existing gender. She was disqualified to play in the Olympics Games and forever barred from playing competitively. She decided to retire and just coach young student-athletes who have the potential to be world-class athletes. 

Honorable Mention: David Bunevacz (Athletics)

Laguna - Anthony Villanueva (Boxing)

Anthony Villanueva is the first Filipino boxer to give his nation a silver medal (the highest color the Philippines achieved so far in the Olympic games) in the featherweight under -57 kg. division during the 1964 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. His father, Jose Villanueva, a boxer himself who won the bronze medal in the 1932 Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games in the bantamweight category convinced him to pursue boxing and redeem his disappointing third-place finish in 1932. They were the first Filipino father and son tandem to win Olympic medals for the Philippines. 

The Cabuyao native "Boy" as he was fondly called was chosen to be a part of the Philippine boxing team when he won the 1962 National Open Bantamweight title. He then gave the Philippines a gold medal at the Asian Boxing Championship held in Taipei, Taiwan. Anthony then was picked to be a part of the strong six-man Olympic boxing team that includes flyweight Dominador Calumarde, bantamweight Arnulfo Torrevillas, lightweight Rodolfo Arpon, welterweight Manfredo Alipala, and light middleweight Felix Ocampo all Asian amateur champions at the time. 

Anthony already fighting in the featherweight category yet still a high student punched out three boxers earlier to make it to the semifinals: Giovanni Girgenti of Italy (in a 3-2 score), Ben Hassan of Tunisia (4-1) despite a cut on his eyebrow and a knockout in the first round to Piotr Gotman of Poland.

Already a toast at Tokyo's famous Korakuen Ice Palace, the good looking Anthony had to call on his firm resolve when the cut he suffered from his previous match was reopened in the first round before disposing of off fighting but outclassed American, Charles Brown (4-1) to arrange the showdown for the gold medal against USSR's Stanislav Stepashkin. A British referee in the name of Dr. Joseph Blonstein almost stopped the match because of the Filipino's injury but after a thorough examination turned out not deep enough to cause a stoppage. This opened the gate for the southpaw Villanueva to pummel Brown with stinging right jabs and punishing left crosses the rest of the way. The gold medal match was a very controversial and highly contestable contest and one of the worst, dirtiest decisions ever in Olympic history. In the match which took place on October 20, 1964, Villanueva looked like the stronger fighter as he landed more telling blows but despite the Filipino's unrelenting attacks, Stepashkin never slowed down. After the match, the Indian judge scored it a close 60 - 58, his Lebanese counterpart 60 - 59, and a bitter Tunisian judge (who wants to avenge the loss earlier of his compatriot to Villanueva) 60 - 58. The German and Egyptian judges saw the fight in Villanueva's favor in identical 59 - 58 counts. Many foreign boxing experts and critics mostly Americans saw the decision lopsided and even the Ring Magazine writers call it "a high noon highway robbery". Shortly after the Olympics, he turned professional but retired after five bouts. He went back and forth to the United States working as a security guard in a Philippine consulate in New York and as a waiter in a Mexican restaurant. In the Philippines, he worked as an actor for a while and as a coach who prepared the boxers for the 1988 Seoul Olympics. After going bankrupt, he tried selling his Olympic silver medal for 1 million pesos but he was persuaded to donate it to the  Philippine Sports Commission. He suffered about five strokes and heart attacks for fourteen years before he died penniless in his sleep on May 13, 2014, in his home in Cabuyao, Laguna. He was 69. 

Honorable Mentions: Hedy Garcia (Swimming)

Lanao del Norte - Jeson Patrombon (Tennis)

Jeson Patrombon is a junior tennis player from Iligan. He achieved his career-high junior ranking of 9 in January 2011 and reached the quarterfinals of the 2011 Australian Open Boys Singles. He has a career-high ATP singles ranking of 869 on August 13, 2012. He represented the Philippines in the Davis Cup with a 5-4 win-loss record. He has also participated and has good standings in both singles and doubles junior events of all four grand slam events - Australian, French, US, and Wimbledon Open. In the Southeast Asian Games, he brought home gold, silver, and bronze medals in, singles, doubles, and team events in 2011, 2015, and 2019 editions of the biennial games. 

Leyte - Fortunato Catalon (Athletics)

Fortunato Catalon one of the Philippines' earliest fastest men in Asia and the undisputed king of 100 and 200 yards in the Far Eastern Championship Games between 1917 - 1923 and won his last gold medal in the games in 1925 when the 100 yards was changed to 100 meters. He established records for these events in the games. He made a record of nine (9) individual gold medals in the games and with a lone silver medal in his last outing in the 200 meters event of the 1925 Far Eastern Championship Games in Manila capping his medal to 10 a record number of medals of the games at that time.  

Maguindanao -

Marinduque - Gretchen Malalad (Karate)

Gretchen Malalad from Boac, Marinduque is a Karate gold medalist who won multiple medals from regional to world championships. She won the gold medal in the 60 kg. individual Kumite category and the open weight individual Kumite in Southeast Asian Games from 2001 - 2005. She also won the bronze medal at the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, South Korea. She also won a gold medal in the Korean Grand Open Championships in Busan, South Korea in 2006. She accumulated a career total of 20 medals all throughout her time playing until her retirement in 2007.

Masbate - Pedro Adigue (Boxing)

Adigue was a former boxing champion from Palanas, Masbate who won the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF) lightweight title on September 30, 1966, and has defended it five times. He eventually won the vacant WBC light welterweight championship title when he defeated American Adolph Pruitt. He also won the OPBF light-welterweight belt in 1973.

Misamis Occidental - Rolando Guaves (Cycling)

Rolando Guaves from Aloran, Misamis Occidental was a former cyclist. He competed in the sprint and the 1000m time trial at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games. 

Misamis Oriental - Lolita Lagrosas (Athletics)
Naawan born Lolita Lagrosas was the jumping queen of the Philippines decades before Elma Muros reign supreme. The Iron Maiden of Asia whose career spanned over two decades rules over high jump, long jump, and the pentathlon. On her first Asian Games appearance, she won the silver medal in the high jump in 1958 Tokyo. She won two medals in the 1966 Bangkok Asian Games; a silver medal in the high jump and a bronze medal in the pentathlon and another bronze in the pentathlon in the 1970 Asian Games in Bangkok. In Taipei dual meet, she won three gold medals in three events, long jump, triple jump, and pentathlon. She competed in all three events in the 1964 Tokyo and 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games.

Mountain ProvinceHector Begeo (Athletics)

Hector Begeo is the Filipino undisputed king of the steeplechase who ruled the event in the decades of 1980s-1990s. He started in athletics as a young boy in the local municipal, district, provincial and regional sports meet. Just like so many great athletes of his nation, Begeo was a product of the Palarong Pambansa where he was discovered. He won seven gold medals in the Southeast Asian Games from 1983 - 1997 in which he got six golds in the 3000-meter steeplechase and another gold in the 5000-meter steeplechase in the 1985 Southeast Asian Games in Bangkok, Thailand. He also placed third in the 1982 New Delhi Asian Games in India and third place in the 1983 Asian Athletics Championships in Kuwait both in the 3000-meter steeplechase event. He is the only Filipino to advance in the semifinals of the steeplechase event in the Olympics which took place in 1988 in Seoul, South  Korea. He also represented the Philippines in the 1997 World Athletics Championship in Athens, Greece. 

Negros Occidental - Pancho Villa (Boxing)

Pancho Villa whose real name is Francisco Guilledo was the first Filipino world boxing champion and the first Asian to win the World Flyweight Championship title he held from 1923 until his sudden death on July 14, 1925. He lost some fights but was never knocked out in his entire short boxing career which ended abruptly at age 23 due to complications from a tooth extraction. 

The Filipino Whirlwind, also known as The Little Brown Boy, as what the Americans fondly called was born in Ilog, Negros Occidental, and the son of a cowhand who abandoned his family when he was just six months old infant. He grew up in a hacienda of a wealthy local helping her mom raised the goats tended on the farm. When he was 11 years old, he sailed to Iloilo City to work as a bootblack. While in Iloilo, he befriended a local boxer and together migrated to Manila settling in Tondo. He would spar with friends and soon drew the attention of local boxing habitues. His first professional fight took place in 1919 against Alberto Castro and within two years he was the Philippine Flyweight Champion dethroning Terio Pandong. He was trained under the tutelage of American promoter based in Manila, Frank E. Churchill, and boxing manager Paquito Villa, and the renaming of Guilledo into Pancho Villa was credited to these two depending on sources. One version tags Churchill renaming Guilledo into Villa after the Mexican revolutionary leader while another version tells that Paquito Villa legally adopted Guilledo as early as 1918 and named him Pancho. He met the American future World Junior Lightweight Champion Mike Ballerino in Manila nine times between January 1920 and October 1921 defeating him in six bouts. Among his greatest fights include against Cowboy Reyes on September 3, 1921, in Manila when he won his first title, the Oriental Bantamweight title, against Johnny Buff on September 14, 1922, winning the American Flyweight title while he won the inaugural The Ring flyweight title against the British Jimmy Wilde on June 18, 1923, making him the first Asian to earn a World Boxing Champion belt which he holds until 1925. He also fought winless against the famed Frankie Genaro and also won his fight against British Bud Taylor. He won a total of 89 matches out of 103 total career matches, 22 of which are knockout. He only lost 8 matches many of which to the famed Frankie Genaro and yielded 4 draws. 

Honorable Mention: Manuel Amechazurra (Football), Francis Arnaiz (Basketball), Rolando Bohol (Boxing), Jeff Chan (Basketball), Monsour del Rosario (Taekwondo), Boyet Fernandez (Basketball), Ramil Gallego (Billiards), Sonny Boy Jaro (Boxing), Rogen Ladon (Boxing), Noli Locsin (Basketball), Donnie Nietes (Boxing), Juvic Pagunsan (Golf), Jerry Penalosa (Boxing), Carlo Piccio (Swimming),  Elias Recaido (Boxing), Eduard Sacapano (Football), Leopoldo Serantes (Boxing), Joan Tipon (Boxing), Mansueto Velasco (Boxing), Roel Velasco (Boxing), Ben Villaflor (Boxing), James Yap (Basketball)

Negros Oriental - Marestella Torres Sunang (Athletics)

San Jose native Marestella Sunang is a multiple medal athlete in the long jump event of the athletics. She started early in athletics and just like many of her nation's greatest athletes, her stellar performance was first noticed in Palarong Pambansa. She won the gold medal in women's long jump in four consecutive Southeast Asian Games editions from 2005 - 2011 and the bronze medal in the same event in two consecutive SEA Games editions in 2015 and 2017. She is an exemplary promising athlete who continuously improves her performance as proof in her bronze, silver, gold medal output in Asian Athletics Championship in 2002, 2005, and 2009 respectively. She added another bronze medal to her collection she got in the women's long jump of the 2016 Asian Beach Games in Da Nang, Vietnam. 

Northern Samar - Joey Mente (Basketball)

Joey Mente is a basketball player from Capul, Northern Samar. He first played for the Iloilo Mega Volts in the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association during the maiden season of the league in 1998. He was drafted by San Miguel Beermen and played for the team from 2001 - 2005. He participated in the Slam Dunk Contest winning himself the title of Slam Dunk King 2001. He played 20 games for the Welcoat Dragons in the 2006 - 2007 PBA Season and averaged  8.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. 

Nueva Ecija - Frances Molina (Volleyball)

Frances Molina who came from Aliaga, Nueva Ecija is a female volleyball player who currently plays as an outside hitter for the Petro Gazz Angels in the Philippines' Premier Volleyball League. She is a member of the national women's volleyball team who played with the Philippine Super Liga All-Stars in the 2016 FIVB Club World Championship. 

Nueva Vizcaya - Carlo Guieb (Cycling)

The king of the mountain cyclin in the 90s was Carlo Guieb of Nueva Vizcaya. He won two consecutive Tour de Filipinas tournaments in 1993 and 1994 edition. He also participated in international tournaments.

Occidental Mindoro - Carlos Loyzaga ( Basketball)

Carlos "Caloy" Loyzaga from San Jose, Occidental Mindoro is considered by many as the greatest Filipino basketball player of all time. A two-time Olympian he is a part of the national team who competed in the 1952 Helsinki and 1956 Melbourne Olympics. He helped the Philippines gained its prominence as the basketball powerhouse of Asia by winning four consecutive Asian Games gold medals from 1951 - 1962 and two consecutive FIBA Asian Championships (1960, 1963). He also led the Philippines to a third-place finish in the 1954 FIBA World Championship held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil the best place finish of the Philippines and of an Asian country in the said tournament. He also served as the coach of the Philippine Basketball Team that won the 1967 ABC (Asian Basketball Confederation) Championship. He also coached U-Tex (1975-1976) and Tanduay (1977-1979) in the Philippine Basketball Association games. 

Honorable Mention: Drian Francisco (Boxing)

Oriental Mindoro - Nelson Asaytono (Basketball)

A retired basketball player from San Teodoro, Oriental Mindoro who played for Purefoods, Swift/Sunkist/Pop Cola, San Miguel Beer, and Red Bull in PBA during his 17-year career. 

PalawanJireh Ibanes (Basketball)

A basketball player from Roxas, Palawan, he played for Welcoat Dragons and Rain or Shine Elasto Painters of the PBA from 2006 - 2017.

Pampanga - Efren Reyes (Billiards)

Regarded as the world's greatest billiard player of all time, Efren "Bata" Reyes who hails from Mexico, Pampanga is the first player to win world championships in two different pool disciplines.

Among his numerous titles, Reyes is a four-time World Eight-ball champion, the 1999 WPA World Nine-ball Championship winner, a three-time U.S. Open winner, a two-time World Pool League winner, and a 14-time Derby City Classic winner. Reyes also represented the Philippines at the World Cup of Pool, winning the event with his partner Francisco Bustamante in 2006 and 2009. By defeating American player Earl Strickland in the inaugural Color of Money event in 1997, Reyes took home the largest single match purse in pool history of $100K. Many analysts, fans, and players consider Reyes to be the greatest pool player of all time.

Reyes is nicknamed "The Magician"—for his ability on the pool table—and "Bata", to distinguish from a fellow pool player by the same name. In addition to the pool, Reyes has played international billiards, specifically one-cushion and three-cushion.

Numerous fellow professional players have credited Reyes with being the greatest living player in the world. During ESPN television commentary on a semi-finals match between Reyes and Mika Immonen at the 2000 Billiard Congress of America Open Nine-ball Championship, veteran professional Billy Incardona stated that Reyes was "indisputably the best player in the world—especially when you consider all games—he can play any game as well as anyone, maybe better than anyone... In my opinion, we're watching probably the greatest player in my lifetime and I've been watching pool for the better part of forty years.

Reyes became the first Asian to be inducted into the Billiard Congress of America's Hall of Fame in 2003. He was also inducted into the One Pocket Hall of Fame in 2004.

Pangasinan - Rodolfo Tan Cardoso (Chess) 

The Anda, Pangasinan native is the first Asian to be granted the International Master (IM) title by the International Chess Federation (FIDE) in 1957. In 1956, he won the Philippine Junior Chess Championships. The following year he competed in the 1957 World Junior Chess Championships in Toronto where he finished 5th place to the eventual winner William Lombardy. In the same year, Pepsi Cola company sponsored an eight-match between him the reigning 19-year-old Philippine junior champion, and the American chess prodigy the then 14-year-old US junior champion Bobby Fischer. He is the only Filipino to have beaten Bobby Fischer. Cardoso was also the Philippine chess champion in 1958 and 1963. He competed in other international tournaments including the three other World Chess Olympiads in 1958, 1972, and 1974 winning him awards and accolades here and abroad.  

Honorable Mentions: Ambrosio Padilla (Basketball) Marc Pingris (Basketball)

Quezon Province - Buenaventura Villamayor (Chess)
Buenaventura Villamayor who hails from Mauban, Quezon province was granted the Grandmaster (GM) by International Chess Federation (FIDE) in 2000. He won the national championship in 1998. He participated in 5 World Chess Olympiads. He participated in the 12th Asian Chess Championships in Shenyang, China where he won the gold medal in Board 2 and bringing the Philippine team to a 4th place finish. At the 17th Chess Olympiad in Havana, Cuba in 1966, Balinas scored 15½ points out of 20 games (.775) and was awarded the individual silver medal award, behind gold medalist, former world champion Mikhail Tal, who scored 11 points out of 13 games (.846). 

Quirino - n.a.

Rizal - Rosendo Balinas (Chess)   

Rosendo Balinas from Antipolo was the strongest Asian chess player in the 1960s and the 1970s. He was awarded by the FIDE the IM status in 1975 and the GM title the following year 1976. During that period, Balinas competed and won international tournaments in Hong Kong, Singapore, Manila, and Odessa, USSR (now part of Ukraine).

Balinas was a seven-time Philippine chess champion, winning the Philippine National Championship and the Philippine Open Chess Championships. He shared first place at the Meralco-sponsored 1968 Philippine Open championship with world championship candidate Yugoslav grandmaster Svetozar Gligorić. Balinas achieved his greatest victory at the 1976 Odessa International Tournament, winning with a 10–4 score. Balinas was undefeated against all Soviet opponents, and a point ahead of Lev Alburt, and former Soviet champion Vladimir Savon. 

He was the only Filipino to make a draw against the legendary US chess prodigy Bobby Fischer. 

Honorable Mention: Celedonio Espinosa Jr. (Boxing), Rachel Anne Daquis (Volleyball), Rodolfo Diaz (Boxing), Bernardo San Juan (Shooting), Roberto Roxas (Cycling)

Romblon - Elma Muros Posadas (Athletics)

Elma Muros Posadas from Magdiwang, Romblon was the sprint queen of the 90s known also as the "Long Jump Queen of the Philippines" and also a heptathlon champion. She competed in the heptathlon, 100 m, and 400 m hurdles, 100 m, 200 m, and 400 m competing alongside another legendary Filipina track athlete Lydia de Vega. Elma is one of the foremost track and field athletes produced by President Ferdinand Marcos' Gintong Alay national sports program that was launched in 1979. Gintong Alay was disbanded in 1986 and becomes the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) in 1990.

A product of the Palarong Pambansa where she was discovered and scouted to represent the country internationally, Muros ran away a total of 15 gold medals in the Southeast Asian Game a SEA Games record number in athletics she jointly shared with Jennifer Tin Lay of Myanmar. Muros won eight (8) Southeast Asian Games titles in her pet event long jump starting at age 16 in 1983 in Singapore in Singapore. She also won bronze medals in the Asian Games courtesy of her win in 400-meter hurdles in the 1990 Beijing Games and long jump in the 1994 Hiroshima Games. She also competed in the Olympic Games, World Athletics Championships, World Indoor Athletics Championships, and Asian Athletic Championships where she won medals. She was a two-time (Philippine Sportswriters Association) PSA Sportsman of the Year, winning the award in 1993 and 1995. She received the first-ever Palarong Pambansa Lifetime Achievement Award on April 23, 2017, Palarong Pambansa Opening Ceremony in San Jose de Buenavista, Antique.

Samar - Yoyong Martirez (Basketball)

Catbalogan native Yoyong Martirez was a retired basketball player turned actor-comedian and politician. He played for San Miguel Beer in PBA from 1972 - 1982. In 1972, he participated at the Olympic Games in Munich, Germany as a member of the Philippine national basketball team. He was a fleet-footed guard specializing in steals/interceptions and assists. He started his acting career in 1985. He forayed into politics in 1995 when he won a council seat in the second district of Pasig City in which he served until 2004. 

Sarangani - Manny Pacquiao (Boxing)

One of the greatest boxing icons that ever lived, Manny Pacquiao is the only eight-division world champion boxer in history and has won twelve (12) world titles. He was the first boxer to win the lineal championship in five different weight classes, the first boxer to win major world titles in four of the eight "glamour divisions": flyweight, featherweight, lightweight, and welterweight, and is the only boxer to hold world championships across four decades (the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, and 2020s). As of 2015, Pacquiao's fights had generated $1.2 billion in revenue from his 25 pay-per-view bouts. According to Forbes, he was the second-highest-paid athlete in the world in 2015.

Siquijor - Bonel Balingit (Basketball)

Bonel Balingit who is known as the "Gentle Giant" or the "Man Mountain" is a retired basketball player turned comedy actor. He played for different teams in PBL and PBA from 1992 - 2002. 

Sorsogon - Isidro del Prado (Athletics)

A two-time Olympian from Barcelona, Sorsogon, del Prado holds the Philippine athletic record in 400 meters. He also once held the record in 200 meters only broken in 2007. He is also a product of the Gintong Alay program along with the likes of Lydia de Vega and Elma Muros. He won the gold medals in two consecutive Asian Athletics Championships in 1983 and 1985 in Kuwait City and Jakarta respectively. He also won the gold medal in the same event in 1981, 1983, 1987, and 1989 Southeast Asian Games. In the 1986 Asian Games in Seoul, South Korea he won the silver medal in the 400-meter run. In 2009, he became the coach of the Brunei national athletics team which helped Ak Hafiy Tajuddin Rositi break his own national record of the men's 400-meter run event at the 2012 London Olympics. 

South Cotabato - Eduardo Buenavista (Marathon)

The pride of Santo Nino town, Eduardo Buenavista is a long-distance runner and a two-time Olympian. He holds the Philippine record for multiple long-distance events.

His best marathon time is 2:18:44 hours. He also holds the Philippine 5000 meters record of 13 minutes, 58 seconds, and performed the 10,000 meters in 29:02.36 minutes.

He has also won many road races in the Philippines, distance races on previous South East Asian Games, the Adidas King of the Road in South Korea, and the Adidas King of the Road 2012 in Singapore.        

Honorable Mention:  Henry Dagmil (Athletics)

Southern Leyte - Ramon Fernandez (Basketball) 

Maasin, Southern Leyte native Ramon Fernandez is a retired basketball player and is now the current commissioner of the Philippine Sports Commission. He won four (4) PBA Most Valuable Player Awards and a record 19 PBA Conference Cup titles. 

He scored 18,996 points to finish as the PBA's all-time scoring leader. He is also the PBA's all-time leader in rebounds, blocked shots, free throws made, playing minutes and second all-time in assists, games played, and steals. He played for five teams in his entire PBA career starting with the Toyota Tamaraws, Manila Beer, Tanduay, Purefoods, and San Miguel. Fernandez played in many overseas tournaments as a member of the Philippine basketball team. He is often regarded by tenured analysts as the greatest player to have ever played in the Philippine Basketball Association. He was also part of the national team which participated in the 1972 ABC Under-18 Championship, the 1973 ABC Championship, the 1974 FIBA World Championship, the 1974 Asian Games, and the 1990 Asian Games. 

Honorable Mention: Pagara Brothers (Boxing)

Sultan Kudarat - Michael Domingo (Boxing)

Michael Barroa Domingo from Lebak, Sultan Kudarat is a retired professional boxer and current holder of the WBO Oriental bantamweight champion belt. In his boxing career, he has a total of 63 matches in which he won in 42 of them with 23 knockouts while he suffered 18 losses and 3 draws. He now works as a boxing coach for young aspiring boxers. 

Sulu - Bana Sailani (Swimming) 

Bana Sailani is a champion swimmer and instructor from Siasi, Sulu. His mother unintentionally introduced him to swimming by throwing him into the water where the young Bana stroke his way out of the deep. Soon he was able to swim expertly and started to join and win local meets. He started to participate in swimming competitions as early as when he was still an elementary student at the Sisangat Siasi Sulu Elementary School. 
When he was 12 years old, he caught the attention of the former Olympian Sambiao Basanung, who, in 1949, took him to Manila to see if he could be trained to be a competitive swimmer. For the next few years, the Rizal Memorial Sports Stadium became his home where he underwent daily training - morning and afternoon. 

Just like Mona Sulaiman, Bana is also a product of Palarong Pambansa when he won at the 1952 Palarong Pambansa National Games (then called as Bureau of Public Schools Interscholastic Athletics Association Games) held at Legaspi, Albay when he was only 15 years old. 

His training paid off, for, in 1953, Sailani broke the national record in 1,500-meter freestyle record by 5 seconds erasing the time set by Bassanung himself in 1950. That same year in December, Sailani swam the 400 meters against his nemesis Agapito Lozada and made history by becoming the first Filipino swimmer to swim the distance under 5 minutes. He did the feat twice - during the heat and the final round for which he won over Lozada by over 2 meters. For his achievement, he was named 1953 Athlete of the Year by the Philippine Sportswriter Association (PSA), an honor repeated in 1958. 

Joining the Philippine national swimming team at his first-ever Asian Games appearance in 1954 at only age 17, Sailani won the bronze medal in the men's 400-meter freestyle clocking at 4:48.8 mins. improving his record by almost 6 seconds. He won another bronze medal in the games as part of the men's 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay team.  He would win three bronzes and a silver medal in two more Asian Games editions (1958 and 1962) in freestyle individual and relay events. He was the first Filipino Muslim to compete in Asian Games. He also participated and competed in the 1956 Melbourne and 1960 Rome Olympics. He held three national records in 1960 - 400 m, 800 m, and 1,500-meter freestyle events. He went on to become a swimming coach in Manila schools like Ateneo Grade School and was a long-time swimming instructor at the Makati Sports Club until he was well into his mid-60s. 

Sailani, nicknamed buwaya or crocodile for his sleek style of swimming or endearingly called Bapa Banana, is regarded as the most outstanding middle to long-distance swimmer of post-war Philippines and a role model to a generation of Muslim swimmers. 

Honorable Mention: Jikirum Adjaluddin (Swimming), Abdurahman Ali (Swimming), Amir Hamsain (Swimming)

Surigao del Norte - Ingemar Macarine (Swimming)

Placer, Surigao del Norte native Ingemar Macarine is a long-distance swimmer, marathoner, and environmental lawyer. He pioneered the open water marathon swimming in the Philippines by crossing several channels in the country. Macarine was the first man to swim across the Surigao Strait which is known for its turbulent water currents in Surigao City on December 30, 2013, by swimming from Basul Island to Barangay Lipata. 
He also swam from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco, California, USA. The Pinoy Aquaman is probably the first Filipino to swim across the Chesapeake Bay from Bay Bridge Marina to Sandy Point Park Beach in Annapolis, Maryland on June 8, 2015.

Because of his record-setting accomplishments, Macarine garnered recognition and prestigious awards, such as being named as one of the Heroes of the Environment in 2015 by the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature.

Surigao del Sur - Gabriel Amigo III (Cycling)

Gabriel Amigo III is a Filipino Enduro mountain bike athlete who is currently residing in Bislig City, Philippines. He was crowned as the National Enduro Champion for the men's elite category after winning the 2017 Philippine MTB Enduro National Championships held in Guimaras, Philippines. 

For the year 2021, Gabriel signed for a 1-year contract deal with GT Bicycles Philippines and he will be riding with the GT Force 27.5 2021 Edition. He is the first Filipino elite rider who was able to compete at the 2019 Enduro World Series in Rotorua, New Zealand (Round 1) and Derby, Tasmania (Round 2). Currently, he is ranked 200th in the Enduro World Series standing and a qualified rider to represent his country in the Enduro World Series - Trophy of Nations 2019 race in Finale Ligure, Italy.

Tarlac - Francisco "Django" Bustamante (Billiards) 

Francisco Bustamante from Tarlac is a professional pool player and the 2010 World Nine-Ball Champion. Nicknamed "Django", after the lead character of the 1966 film of the same name, Bustamante has won over 50 international titles. He picked up the nickname "Django" because his character and his appearance with a cigarette in his mouth were reminiscent of the movie character of that name.
Bustamante has won titles including the Munich Masters, the German Nine-ball Championship, and the Japan Nine-ball Championship.

With his win in Tulsa, Bustamante became champion of the 1998 Camel Pro Billiards Series year-long point fund. He then finished the season by winning the Columbus 10-Ball Open and becoming the first player to win three Camel titles in one season. His Columbus 10-Ball title completed the first-ever Camel trifecta, with titles in each of the three games contested on the Camel Pro Billiards Series: eight-ball, nine-ball, and ten-ball. Known for his flamboyant style at the table and behind-the-back shots, Bustamente also holds the world record for having the most powerful break shot.

In 2000, Bustamante won the Motolite 9-ball Tournament, an event held in the Philippines, beating Antonio Lining. The victory prize was $30,000, the largest first prize offered in a Philippine-held tournament at that time.

Bustamante won the Peninsula Nine-ball Open, Gabriel's Las Vegas International Nine-ball tournament, the IBC Tokyo Nine-ball International, and the All Japan Nine-ball Championship. He also won the Sudden Death Seven-ball tournament, dedicating the victory to his daughter. With this string of victories, he became the AZBilliards 2002 Player of the Year. Bustamante won the World Pool League in 2004, defeating world nine-ball champion Alex Pagulayan. In 2007, he was undefeated in the United States Pro Tour Championship held at the Normandie Casino in Los Angeles, California. For 2007, he was ranked #7 in Pool & Billiard Magazine's "Fans' Top 20 Favorite Players" poll. He competed in the 2008 World Straight Pool Championship as the only Filipino player, in his first straight pool event. In the end, he finished second behind Niels Feijen. In 2010, Bustamante again reached the finals of the World Nine-ball Championship, winning the match and the title against Taiwan's Kuo Po-cheng. He also won a gold medal in men's nine-ball billiard double in the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, South Korea. 

On July 27, 2010, Francisco Bustamante, along with Terry Bell and Larry Hubbart, founders of the American Pool Players Association (APA), were elected to the Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame and inducted on October 21, 2010. Bustamante was the second player from the Philippines to be inducted, after Efren Reyes. 

Honorable Mentions: Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski (Equestrian), Manfredo Alipala (Swimming), Federico Bonus (Swimming),  Ava Verdeflor (Gymnastics),  Mary Joy Baron (Volleyball)

Tawi-Tawi Alnakhran "Ran Ran" Abdilla (Volleyball)

Alnakhran Abdilla is a professional volleyball player who is a member of the national men's volleyball team who played in the 30th Southeast Asian Games winning a silver medal in the process.

Zambales - Eric Cray (Athletics) 

The son of Olongapo, Eric Shauwn Brazas Cray was the undisputed Filipino Hurdle King who competes in hurdle and sprint events. He represented the Philippines in the 2013 and 2016 World Athletics Championships. He won the tri-color medals in the Southeast Asian Games from 2013 to 2019. He is the current Filipino national record in 400-meter hurdles and the 100 meters. He won the men's 400-meter hurdles gold medal in Southeast Asian Games from 2013 - 2019, 100 meter run gold medal in 2015 SEA Games, bronze medal in men's 4x100 meter relay in both 2017 and 2019 SEA Games and the gold medal in 4x100 meter mixed relay. He also competed and won medals in Asian Indoor Championship and Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games. He won the gold medal in men's 400 meter hurdles in the 2017 Asian Athletics Championship in Bhubaneswar, India. He is now preparing to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. 

 Honorable Mention: Samuel Morrison (Taekwondo)

Zamboanga del Norte - Jonathan Taconing (Boxing)    

Jonathan Taconing from Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte is a professional boxer who is a former light flyweight champion of the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation and the current International light flyweight champion of the World Boxing Council, a title he already once held in his career, from 2010-2012. He and Mark Magsayo were named the Most Promising Boxers of the Year at the 2016 Elorde Boxing Awards. A southpaw, Taconing has a total of 33 boxing career matches with 28 wins 22 of which are knockouts. He suffered 4 losses and only made a draw. 

Honorable Mention: Jerry Barbaso (Football)

Zamboanga del Sur - Hidilyn Diaz (Weightlifting)   

Hidilyn Diaz from Zamboanga City is a weightlifter and Olympian. Prior to competing in the Olympic Games, she competed and won medals in Asian Junior Weightlifting Championship, Southeast Asian Games, and Asian Games. Diaz was selected as a wildcard entry by the Philippine Weightlifting Association to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. She became the first Filipina woman weightlifter to compete in the Olympic Games and the youngest competitor in the women's 58 kg. category. She again competed in the 2012 London Olympic Games under the same weight class category and was chosen as the flagbearer in the Opening Ceremony. For the third attempt at Olympic glory, she decided to lower her weight class to 53 kilograms and proves to be successful. Diaz surpassed her own personal target and won the silver medal at the event, after successfully clinching a lift of 88 kg. in her second attempt in snatch event (placed 6th) and 111 kg. and 112 kg. in the first and second attempts in the clean and jerk event (placed 2nd).  This was the Philippines' first Olympic medal after 20 years, the first non-boxing Olympic medal since 1936. Diaz herself is the first Filipina woman to win an Olympic medal.

Honorable Mention:  Simeon Toribio (Athletics)

Zamboanga Sibugay - Sylvester Lopez (Boxing)

Sylvester Lopez from Kabasal is a professional boxer who is the current WBC Silver Super Flyweight Champion and is also the former WBC International Super Flyweight Champion. Currently, he is ranked number one in the World Boxing Council in the super flyweight division and is scheduled to fight Yota Sato for his first title defense. So far he has a total of 44 career fights for which he won 28 matches 19 by way of knockouts. He also suffered 14 losses and made 2 draws. 

Caloocan City - Chad Alonzo (Basketball)

Chad Alonzo is a Filipino professional basketball player for the Imus Bandera of the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League (MPBL). He is part of the men's national basketball team who won the gold medal in the 2007 SEA Games in Nakhon Ratchasima. 

Honorable Mentions:  Don Camaso (Basketball), Alberto Canlas (Weightlifting), Denver Lopez (Basketball), Benjie Paras (Basketball), Edward Yamamoto (Basketball)

Las Pinas - Nikko Huelgas (Triathlon)
Nikko Huelgas is a triathlete who competes internationally. He is the first Filipino to win the Southeast Asian Games gold medal in the men's triathlon on June 7, 2015 in Singapore. He also participated in Asian Games and other international tournaments like Asian Beach Games, Triathlon Asian Cup, European Cup and Asian Championships. 

Honorable Mentions: Kevin Alas (Basketball), Kai Sotto (Basketball) 

Makati - Sebastian Ugarte (Football)

Before the prominence of the Azkals, there is Sebastian Ugarte who rose to fame several decades back playing for the University of Saint La Salle Manila Football and Track and Field Team. At the age of 15, he is already playing in the big leagues like Circulo Recreativo, Club Filipino, Casino Español, and Santo Tomas Eleven. The following year when he was 16 years old, he was invited to join the Philippine Olympic Team which he later joined. Ugarte excelled in the sport and for 14 consecutive years named as the collegiate soccer champion of the Philippines. 

His most memorable game, however, was when he played as a member of the all-Manilans Football Team against the mighty Javanese Hercules Team in a friendly match. The Manila Team lagged behind against their mighty opponent in the first half of the game but Ugarte's seamless and powerful play deliver the team and scoring more points to win the match 4-3.

Ugarte was also a part of the Philippine national football team who seek action in the Far Eastern Championship Games. When the Nielson Air Field was developed into Ayala Triangle Gardens in 1971, part of this area was transformed as a football field known as the Sebastian Ugarte Football Field named in his honor and inaugurated in March of 1974. There has been no football field in the area since the early 1980s.

Honorable Mentions: Ryan Arabejo (Swimming), Simon Atkins (Basketball), Kevin Ferrer (Basketball)

Malabon - Jimmy Mariano (Basketball)

Jimmy Mariano of Malabon was a former basketball player and coach who played as a member of the national basketball team which represented and competed in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics and the 1972 Munich Olympics. He is part of the Philippine national team who took the gold medal in the 1973 Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC) Championship. He also coaches some teams in PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) from 1981 - 1990.

Honorable Mention: Tom Ong (Shooting)

Mandaluyong - Michele Bumgarner (Auto Racing)

Michele Bumgarner is one of the first female auto racers of the Philippines. In 2006 Bumgarner made her auto racing debut driving in the Asian Formula Three Championship, finishing third in the series' Promotion Class. She competed in the first five rounds of the 2008 Star Mazda Championship season for John Walko Racing. Her best finish was 15th place coming in her final start at Portland International Raceway. On September 19, 2008, she became the first female champion of the Rock Island Grand Prix in Rock Island, Illinois, the world’s largest street karting race. 

Honorable Mentions: Maico Buncio (Motorcycle Racing), Mark Cardona (Basketball), Alfredo Razon Gonzalez (Football), Marlon Manalo (Billiards)

Manila - Carlos Yulo (Gymnastics)

The diminutive but very talented son of Malate district, Carlos Edriel Yulo is a world champion gymnast. At the 2018 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Doha, Qatar, he advanced to the finals of the all-around and floor exercise event. By winning the bronze medal in the floor exercise, he became the first Filipino and first male Southeast Asian gymnast to win a medal at the championship. The following year at the 2019 World Artistic Gymnastics Championship in Stuttgart, he won the gold medal in the floor exercise thereby becoming the first Filipino and Southeast Asian to become a world gymnastic champion. By advancing to the final round of the all-around event of the 2019 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, Yulo secured qualification to compete for the Philippines at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. A few months later at the 30th Southeast Asian Games, Yulo finished on the podium in every event winning the gold medal in the all-around and floor exercise event and silver in the pommel horse, still rings, vault, parallel bars, and horizontal bar. He is now focused on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where there is a big chance he could deliver the Philippines' first Olympic gold medal.

Honorable Mentions: Luisito Espinosa (Boxer), Jasmine Figueroa (Archery), Zema Ion (Professional Wrestling), Christine Jacob (Swimming), Lim Eng Beng (Basketball), Samboy Lim (Basketball), Miguel Mendoza (Swimming), Benjie Paras (Basketball), Yannick Tuason (Football), Freddie Webb (Basketball)

Marikina - Marck Espejo (Volleyball)

Marck Espejo is a Filipino volleyball athlete who last played for Bahraini club, Bani Jamra of the Isa bin Rashid Volleyball League. He is a member of the Philippines men's national volleyball team and played collegiate volleyball with Ateneo de Manila University. He is part of the Philippines' men's national volleyball team which won the silver medal at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in Manila. 

Honorable Mentions: MC Caceres (Basketball), Paolo Taha (Basketball)

Muntinlupa - Jenny Guerrero (Swimming)

Jenny Guerrero is a Filipino former swimmer, who specialized in breaststroke events. She represented the Philippines, as the youngest ever athlete of the squad (aged 14), at the 2000 Summer Olympics, in Sydney. She won two medals at the 2001 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur - a silver medal (100-meter breaststroke) and a bronze medal (200-meter breaststroke) and later became a top 8 finalist at the 2002 Asian Games in Busan, South Korea before her official retirement in 2005.

Honorable Mentions: Ebrahim Enguio Lopez (Basketball), Michael Christian Martinez (Figure Skating)

Navotas - Froilan Baguion (Basketball)

Froilan Baguion is a Filipino former professional basketball player. He was signed by Welcoat of the Philippine Basketball Association in 2006 after not being drafted in the 2006 PBA draft. After some stint in PBA, he was played for teams in Thailand and Vietnam basketball leagues. 

Parañaque - Simone Rota (Football)

Simone Rota is a Filipino footballer who most recently played as a defender or midfielder for Kaya F.C.-Iloilo and the Philippines national football team.                       

Rota entered the first team of Pro Sesto in the 2001–02 Serie C2 season, becoming a regular the following year. In 2005, the team was promoted to Serie C1 as the Group A winner of the 2004–05 Serie C2 season. Subsequently, Rota was also selected for the Mirop Cup as a member of the Italy U-20 Lega Pro. Their team went up against the youth national teams of Styria, Croatia, Hungary, and Slovenia, and eventually, Italy's U-20 Lega Pro team was named the champion of that tournament.

Rota also capped for the Italy U-20 Lega Pro team in the 2005 Trofeo Dossena, which lost to Sports Club Internacional in the final game. He did not suit up for Italy in the final match of that tournament. In January 2006, Rota was transferred from Pro Sesto to Manfredonia. By the end of that season, Manfredonia finished tenth, and Pro Sesto was relegated. Rota returned to Pro Sesto as a regular, though he missed the rest of the season.

In November 2007, Rota returned to Pro Sesto, playing eight games of the season. He was then transferred to Lugano of the Swiss Challenge League in 2008. In 2009, Rota returned to Pro Sesto, but the club went bankrupt and it finished last in the 2009–10 Lega Pro Seconda Divisione.

Honorable Mention: Alvin Abundo (Basketball), Rolando Dy (MMA), Juan Miguel Elorde (Boxing), Jeric Fortuna (Basketball), Reynante Jamili (Boxing), Denden Lazaro (Volleyball), Giemel Magramo (Boxing), Jia Morado (Volleyball)

Pasay - Junna Tsukii (Karate)

Junna Tsukii is a Filipino-Japanese karateka. She won the gold medal in the women's Kumite 50 kg event at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games held in the Philippines.

In 2018, she won one of the bronze medals in the women's Kumite 50 kg event at the 2018 Asian Games held in Jakarta, Indonesia.

In 2019, she won the gold medal in the women's Kumite 50 kg event at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games held in the Philippines. In 2017, she won one of the bronze medals in this event at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She also won one of the bronze medals in the team Kumite event

Honorable Mention: Boyet Bautista (Basketball), Rico Maierhofer (Basketball)

Pasig - Allan Caidic (Basketball)

Allan Caidic is a Filipino retired professional basketball player in the PBA. He is considered by many to be the greatest shooter the country has ever produced, thus, earning the moniker, "The Triggerman". He was named as one of the greatest PBA Players of all time. He is also a member of the national team which brought honors and medals to the Philippines in the SEA Games, Asian Games, and FIBA Asia Cup. 

He played college hoops at the University of the East before joining the PBA in 1987, where he broke several Philippine and PBA all-time records—including the most points scored in a single game (79 points), the most three-point field goals made in a single game (17 triples; breaking his previous record of 15 triples), the most consecutive free throws made (76), and the most three-point field goals in a career (1,242 triples; later surpassed by Jimmy Alapag). He has played with several PBA teams and won numerous championships. He played for the Philippine national basketball team including the 1998 Philippine Centennial Team.

While in the league, he was considered one of the best three-point shooters in Asia. The vaunted Chinese national basketball team recognized his ability by always reminding their players to be on the lookout for "Philippine No. 8", referring to Caidic's regular jersey number while playing for the National Team. 

Honorable Mention: Francis Adriano (Basketball), Oliver Barbosa (Chess), Atoy Co (Basketball), Jericho Cruz (Basketball), Rasheya Jasmin Luis (Shooting), Alberto Reynoso (Basketball), Gilbert Ulang (Dart Shooting)

Quezon City - Alex Eala (Tennis)

Alex Eala is a junior tennis player who is the current Australian Open girls' doubles title holder. She is the No. 2 ranked ITF junior, achieved on October 6, 2020.Eala has a career high WTA singles ranking of 736 achieved on March 15, 2021. At the age of 12, Eala won the 2018 Les Petit As 14-and-under tournament, beating Linda Nosková in the finals. She made her junior Grand Slam debut at the 2019 US Open. 

Eala won the 2020 Australian girls' doubles event, partnering Priska Madelyn Nugroho. They defeated Živa Falkner and Matilda Mutavdzic in the finals. Eala peaked in the Girl's Junior rankings at No. 2 after reaching the semifinals at the 2020 French Open girls' singles competition. Eala made her debut on the ITF Women's Circuit on March 4, 2020 as a junior reserved in the $15K event at Monastir, where she won her first professional match. She leaped to the top 1000 in the WTA that was established by tennis legend Billie Jean King for professional women players comes after the teen prodigy secured her first pro tennis championship title at the first leg of the ITF W15 Manacor in Spain held in January 2021.

Honorable Mention: Marco Casambre (Football), Mark Galedo (Cycling), Ben Gonzales (Rugby), Jayson Gonzales (Chess), Miguel Molina (Swimming), Alvin Morada (Badminton), Bianca Pagdanganan (Golf), Biboy Rivera (Bowling), Almario Vizcayno (Fencing)

San Juan - Philip Cezar (Basketball)

Philip Cezar is a retired Filipino professional basketball player and who is a 15-time Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) champion. He was part of the fabled Crispa Redmanizers ballclub that won two PBA Grand Slams, in 1976 and 1983. He won the Most Valuable Player award in 1980. He was also a many-time Philippine national team player in the 1970s. He was also known by the monikers Tapal King and The Scholar.

In 2000, he was named as one of the PBA's 25 greatest players of all time in elaborate awards ceremonies that highlighted the 25th anniversary of the league.

In 2005, he was one of the twelve initial inductees to the PBA Hall of Fame alongside fellow Crispa players Atoy Co and Bogs Adornado, and Toyota stalwarts Robert Jaworski, Francis Arnaiz, and Fernandez together with former PBA Commissioners Leo Prieto, Emerson Coseteng, and Atty. Rudy Salud as well as legendary Crispa coach and team manager, respectively, Virgilio "Baby" Dalupan and Danny Floro, and the late anchorman Joe Cantada.

He finished his illustrious PBA career as the No.6 all-time leading scorer with 12,077 points behind Fernandez, Abet Guidaben, Patrimonio, Atoy Co, and Asaytono. He also is the fifth all-time best rebounder with 5,834 total rebounds behind Fernandez, Guidaben, Jerry Codiñera, and Patrimonio and was No. 2 in shot blocks with 1,370. He also had 3,130 assists (3.4 assists per game), 599 steals, converted 2066/2767 free throws in 28127:05 minutes played in 918 games. He, along with Fernandez, are the only two players in PBA history who has accumulated at least 12,000 points, 5,000 rebounds, and 1,000 shot blocks.

Honorable Mention: Paul Artadi (Basketball), Buda Bautista (Football), Mark Caguioa (Basketball)

Taguig - Jemyca Aribado (Squash)

Jemyca Aribado is a Filipino professional squash player. As of February 2018, she was ranked number 83 in the world. By August 2017, she became the first Filipino player to break into the top 100 after she rose to rank 98.

One of the three bronze medals of the Philippines in squash at the 2015 Southeast Asian Games was won by Aribado.

At the 2016 South East Asian Cup Squash Championship in Myanmar, Aribado along with Yvonne Dalida secured the country's sole gold medal in the tournament by winning the women's jumbo double. She herself won a bronze in the individual event. At the 2017 Southeast Asian Games, she and Dalida settled for silver at the women's jumbo double. She won a bronze in the women's single while helped in winning three other bronze medals. 

Valenzuela - Cha Cruz (Volleyball)

Charleen Abigaile "Cha" Ramos Cruz-Behag is a Filipino professional volleyball player and an educator. She is a member of the Philippine women's national volleyball team. Currently, she is playing and is the team captain for the F2 Logistics Cargo Movers in the Philippine Super Liga, a semi-professional corporate club volleyball league in the Philippines. 

Honorable Mention: Marnelli Dimzon (Football)

Those with an asterisk (*) are those individuals whose origin is uncertain but may be native to the area, have a residence, and/or upon marriage.


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