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List of Articles by Eddie Alinea


Yldefonso, Villa, Elorde head 1ST batch of RP Hall of Fame inductees

By Eddie Alinea
14 Apr 2010

In 1985, efforts to establish the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame were started by a group of private sportsmen-businessmen and members of the Philippine Sportswriters Association.
Twenty five years after San Miguel Corp. chair, Ambassador Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco and his group, including, among others, then PSA president, the late Antonio Siddayao, Augusto Villanueva, himself a former PSA head, Manolo Inigo and this writer, had laid the groundwork, the long-overdue Hall will come to fruition.

An initial batch of 10 honorees, headed by two-time Olympic bronze medalist Teofilo Yldefonso and world boxing champions Pancho Villa and Gabriel “Flash” Elorde, have earned the nod of the review and evaluation committee to be enshrined to the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame at a date still to be decided next month at the historic Manila Hotel.

Another world boxing champion, Ceferino Garcia, Olympic silver medalist Anthony Villanueva, bronze medalists Simeon Toribio, Miguel White and Jose “Cely” Villanueva, basketball player Carlos Loyzaga and the Philippine team that finished third in the World Basketball Champion in 1954 join Yldefonso and company in the first batch of inductees.

Philippine Sports Commission chair Harry Angping and PSA president Teddyvic Melendrez jointly presided over the REC meeting held Tuesday night at the PSC office of Angping and attended by Villanueva, Bulletin Sports editor Ding Marcelo, Malaya sports editor Jimmy Cantor, Inigo and Ernie Gonzales of the Inquirer, Willie Caballes of Bulletin, Tito Talao of Tempo, Noli Cortez of Malaya, Journal sports editor Joe Antonio and Ninoy Sofranes and PSC legal office Paul de Vega.
PSC commissioners, Fr. Vic Uy and Joey Mundo were also at the meeting.
The Angping committee acted upon the recommendation of the organizing committee, which had earlier reduced to 13 the list of 43 nominees submitted by individuals and entities for consideration.
Dropped from the 13-athlete list were boxers Eleuterio “Little Dado” Zapanta, the first Filipino two-division champion in the flyweight and bantamweight classes, flyweight titleholders Benjamin “Small Montana” Gan and Salvador “Dado” Marino.
The three will be included outright in the second batch of inductees along with tennis great Felicisimo “Mighty Mite” Ampon, who REC members believed deserves to be in the first batch but was not nominated.

The Class 2010 Hall of Famers belonged to international campaigners in the era covering 1920 until 1964.
The Philippine Sports Hall of Fame was established pursuant to Rep. Act 8757 that was passed and approved into law by then president Joseph Estrada on November 25, 1999.
Incidentally, for ending up third in the 200-metrer breaststroke event back-to-back in the 1928 Amsterdam and 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games and for inventing what is now known as “Modern Breaststroke” Yldefonso will also be elevated to the International Swimming Federation Hall of Fame, also in May.

Yldefonso, a member of the Philippine Scout during the Japanese occupation who was killed in the infamous “Death March”, will, thus, become the first Filipino athlete to be accorded a place in the Hall of Fame in an Olympic sport.
Toribio and Villanueva, father of silver medalist Anthony completed the three-bronze medal haul of the Philippine delegation in the 1932 Los Angeles Games by ruling the high jump and boxing’s bantamweight class in boxing, respectively.
White from Bicol emerged the third fastest 400-meter hurdler in the 1936 Berlin Olympics where the Philippine basketball team wound up fifth, the highest by any Asian nation up to the present time.

Garcia was the world middleweight champion, the heaviest Filipino ever to win a world title, from 1939-1940, and was known as the father of the now outlawed “bolo punch.”
Loyzaga help the RP cage team to a third place finish in the 1954 World Championship held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where he emerged member of the mythical selection. That Filipino finish remains unmatched by any Asian country until now.
Villa and Elorde are both world boxing Hall of Famers; Elorde for crowning himself the World Boxing Council junior lightweight kingpin from 1960 to 1967, the longest by any man in the division.

Villa, Franciso Guilledo in real life, became the first Filipino and Asian boxing champion by winning the flyweight division following his sensational seventh round knockout win over Englishman Jimmy Wilde in New York in 1923.
He was enshrined to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1961 and named the “Greatest Flyweight” of the last millennium.

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