10 local sports newsmakers of 2016
ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 30, 2016 10:02 PM
Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz gave the Philippines an Olympic silver that weighs like gold that highlighted this year's achievements of the Filipino athlete.
Amazing triumphs and painful failures of the Filipino athletes highlighted the year 2016.
We saw them on top, shared their pain at their fall and felt their burning desire to bring pride to the country.
Let’s look back at some of the newsmakers in local sports before we welcome a hopefully more successful year ahead.
HIDILYN DIAZ LIFTS PINOY PRIDE
Athlete of the year. Filipina hero.
Hidilyn Diaz ended the Philippines’ two-decade medal drought in the Olympics after snatching a silver medal in the women’s 53 kg. division.
The Zamboangeña became the first Filipina to win an Olympic medal in a regular sport and first medalist since boxer Mansueto "Onyok" Velasco silver medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
A three-time Olympian, Diaz made her Olympic debut back in the 2008 Beijing Games and returned in the 2012 London Games, competing both times in the women's 58-KG division. She was the Philippines' flag-bearer in 2012.
Diaz lifted in the 58kg class in Beijing as a 17-year-old and impressed many in the field, but she failed on all her clean and jerk attempts in London. Diaz dropped down to the lighter class for Rio, which had just seven competitors.
MANNY PACQUIAO WINS IT ALL
Still the most popular Filipino athlete in the world, Manny Pacquiao transcended beyond being a boxer for more than two decades.
The 38-year-old pug rose from a painful loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015 when he returned inside the ring by beating Timothy Bradley via unanimous decision for the vacant WBO International and Lineal welterweight titles last April.
A month after his victory on the canvas, Pacquiao knocked a seat in the Senate with more than 16 million votes in the May national election. He landed seventh among the 12 new members of the Senate.
The eight-division champion captured the WBO welterweight title with a lopsided unanimous decision win over the then undefeated Jessie Vargas last November.
TAFT NEIGHBORS, COLLEGIATE VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONS
The College of St. Benilde Lady Blazers proved that even a thrice-to-beat Finals disadvantage won’t stop them from making history in the 91st NCAA women’s volleyball.
Faced with an uphill battle, the Lady Blazers survived two knockout games in the stepladder semifinals to meet San Sebastian College, which they defeated thrice in four grueling championship series matches to bag CSB’s first-ever women’s title.
Perpetual Help in the men’s division kicked Emilio Aguinaldo College off the throne with a come-from-behind best-of-three Finals series win highlighted by an amazing rally from a 5-11 fifth set deficit in Game 3.
In the UAAP Season 78, University of the Philippines returned to the women’s division Final Four after 13 years but had a short trip against the two-time champion and Alyssa Valdez-led Ateneo de Manila Lady Eagles.
With starters Mika Reyes, returning from n knee injury in Season 77 Ara Galang and Cyd Demecillo playing their last year with De La Salle, the trio led the Lady Spikers to their eight straight championship stint and fifth in a row against archrival Lady Eagles.
The bitter rivals split their first two games in the Finals series before DLSU overpowered Ateneo in a dramatic Game 3 battle to end a two-year drought of the crown and hoist the Taft-based squad’s ninth title overall.
The Blue Eagles, on the other hand, made a title repeat by asserting its mastery over National University.
RAMIREZ RETURNS TO PSC, COJUANGCO TAKES FOURTH POC TERM
With President Rodrigo Duterte assuming office, the administration tapped Butch Ramirez as chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission with a promise of change to the nation’s sports program.
Ramirez is a returning chair of the country’s sports department after holding the position during the term of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from 2005 to 2008. He also served as Ateneo de Davao’s athletic director.
Under Ramirez’s watch, the country successfully hosted the 2005 Southeast Asian Games where the Philippines also became the overall champion with a total of 113 gold medals. He stepped down from his position after the PHI team’s unsuccessful campaign in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Jose “Peping” Cojuangco Jr. won his fourth term as president of the Philippine Olympic Committee.
Unopposed after the disqualification of boxing president Ricky Vargas (lack of active participation in the POC General Assembly), the 82-year-old former Tarlac representative will again run the POC for the next four years.
Cojuangco first assumed the position in 2004.
LIONS’ DEN; ARCHERS REIGN
A year after having their half a decade dynasty snapped, the San Beda Red Lions returned to the throne of the 92nd NCAA seniors basketball.
With REDemption fueling them the whole season, the Red Lions turned on transferee Robert Bolick, Javee Mocon and Davon Potts for their 11th straight Finals appearance.
The Mendiola-based squad stopped the raging Arellano University and its driver Jiovani Jalalon on their tracks to reclaim the crown.
Ben Mbala’s unstoppable force and Jeron Teng’s farewell march under new mentor Aldin Ayo, De La Salle lived up to expectations with the Green Archers’ dominance of UAAP Season 78.
Beaten only once the whole season, the Taft-based squad bulldozed its way to the throne after three seasons.
DLSU and Ateneo de Manila rekindled their rivalry in the Finals after splitting their first two meetings in the elimination round. But the Green Archers proved to be too much for the Blue Eagles, winning the title via series sweep.
NO MORE KANGKONG
For eight seasons Barangay Ginebra has been the butt of jokes.
From “kangkong” jeers to memes of going on a vacation to Boracay after another lackluster campaign, the Gin Kings’ legion of die-hard fans swallowed it all.
But not this year.
Ginebra claimed its ninth PBA championship in a dramatic finish in Game 6 of the 2016 PBA Governors’ Cup.
Import Justin Brownlee was the hero of the year for the “barangay”, nailing a buzzer-beating triple over Meralco reinforcement Allen Durham for Ginebra’s series-clinching 91-88 win over the Bolts.
Kangkong ended and as Gin Kings’ Mark Caguioa would say: "Sinong kangkong ngayon ha? Ha? Ano? Ul*l!”
POCARI SWEAT DYNASTY BEGINS, NU'S BARK-TO-BACK
Newcomer Pocari Sweat made an instant impact in the V-League after winning two titles in the 13th edition of the league.
Bannered by Myla Pablo, Michele Gumabao and ace libero Melissa Gohing, the Lady Warriors after transferring from the Philippine Superliga last summer could be building a long reign in the V-League after capturing the Open and Reinforced Conference titles.
Down 0-1 in the Open Conference finals series against Philippine Air Force, Pocari Sweat clawed its way back to bag the crown.
With the help of Americans Bre Mackie and Andrea Kacsits, the Lady Warriors annexed the Reinforced Conference throne in a series sweep of the Alyssa Valdez-led Bureau of Customs.
National University behind 6-foot-5 Jaja Santiago won its second straight Collegiate Conference title.
Santiago also led the Foton Tornadoes to back-to-back PSL Grand Prix championships while the De La Salle-bannered F2 Logistics denied Foton of a season sweep by winning the All-Filipino diadem.
FRAYNA BECOMES FIRST PINAY CHESS GRANDMASTER
The UAAP Season 77 Athlete of the Year winner Janelle Mae Frayna made history by becoming the Philippines' first ever chess Woman Chess Grandmaster.
Frayna achieved the feat after she clinched the third and final WGM result with a 33-move draw with International Master Daavademberel Nomin-Erdene of Mongolia after the ninth round of the 42nd World Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan.
FOLAYANG, VERA RULE ONE CHAMPIONSHIP
Eduard Folayang of Team Lakay ended up with the ONE Championship lightweight belt, fulfilling a nine-year dream.
The three-time Southeast Asian Games wushu gold medalist earned a crack for the belt with consecutive wins against Tetsuya Yamada and Adrian Pang.
The 32-year-old Igorot fighter knocked out Japanese MMA legend Shinya Aoki in the third round to occupy the lightweight throne.
Filipino-American Brandon Vera gave Pinoy MMA fans an early Christmas gift after retaining the ONE Championship heavyweight belt.
A year after claiming the title, Vera returned to Manila and successfully defended his belt via TKO win over Hideki Sekine.
AZKALS LOSE BITE
What started out to be a promising year for our beloved football heroes Philippine Azkals ended up in a disaster.
After a strong finish in the FIFA World Qualifiers to start the year, the Azkals failed to advance in semifinals of the AFF Suzuki Cup after three straight trips to the Final Four in the biennial football meet.
The Pinoy booters opened with a scoreless draw with former champion Singapore followed by another 2-2 tie with Indonesia.
The Azklas were booted out of a semis berth after suffering a 0-1 loss to eventual champion Thailand on a late goal coupled by a win by Indonesia against Singapore on the other end of the pool.
Here are just some of the newsmakers for this year. Feel free to add other Pinoy athletes in the list at the comment section below.