As 2017 comes to a close, we count down and celebrate the year’s seven best moments in Philippine sports—ones that will welcome 2018 in with a promise that Filipino fans will see more of their fellow countrymen competing and defying odds on the world stage.
Honorable mention: PH Team wins 24 gold, 34 silver, and 63 bronze medals in the Southeast Asian Games (2017 SEA Games). Despite the argued less than stellar overall performance in the SEA Games, we are still proud of all our athletes who competed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, last August!
7. Maggie Wilson at the Antarctic Ice Marathon (marathon)
-20 degrees, strong winds and snow. It was a constant battle with my mind and body. I survived without getting frostbite and hypothermia in one of the most remote locations in the world. I may not be considered a “full” Filipino at times but I stand at the finish holding the Philippine flag as the first Filipina woman to complete a full marathon on Antartica. 💙 #ProudToBePinoy #Antarctica #HusbandIsLuckyIDidntKillHimForMakingMeDoThisMarathon #GoodNewsWeAreStillMarried #GuessImOfficiallyAsNutsAsHeIs
Talk about making global history, the former beauty queen Maggie Wilson ran the full marathon in the southernmost part of the world just last November, freezing temperatures and all. Waving the Philippine flag at the finish line, Wilson became the first Filipina to ever complete the challenging Antarctic Ice Marathon. “-20 degrees, strong winds and snow. It was a constant battle with my mind and body. I survived without getting frostbite and hypothermia in one of the most remote locations in the world,” she shared on her Instagram.
6. Carlo Biado wins World Nine-Ball Championship (billiards)
The last time the Philippines won the coveted World Pool Championship was with Francisco Bustamante back in 2010. Just this December, Carlo “Cool” Biado became only the fourth Filipino to win the most prestigious world billiards tournament. Oh, and let’s not fail to mention that he had to defeat Roland Garcia, also Filipino, for the title. Will this be the start of the sport becoming big again in the country? Let’s await Biado’s next international stint and find out!
5. TNC Pro Team wins in Dota 2 tournament (eSports)
Say what you will about eSports (or electronic sports) being called just that: a sport, you can’t deny the level of competitiveness that the pro video gamers bring to the table or keyboards when so much is at stake—unmatchable sense of national pride and a big load of prize money. In January, the Philippine TNC Pro Team won P40 million in the World Electronic Sports Games held in China, besting their American opponent Cloud9, 2-1, in a hotly contested series of Dota 2.
4. Jerwin Ancajas’ 3 successful title defense (boxing)
Now being hyped as the next Manny Pacquiao, perhaps being from Mindanao and for being a southpaw, but Jerwin Ancajas’ growing popularity has been backed by his last three successful title defense matches in the IBF junior bantamweight. He recently landed a two-year/six-fight deal with Top Rank promotions and is now scheduled to defend his title for the first time in the United States.
3. PH Malditas qualify for the 2018 AFC Cup (football)
The Philippine national women’s football team, more known as the Malditas, qualified last April for the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup set in Jordan. But more important, the team is only one win and one tie away from qualifying for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in France. “The top five teams in Jordan will progress to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France,” Malditas Technical Committee Manager Ernest Nierras said. “We may have missed the 2015 edition in Canada, but we are four points away from France.”
2. Krizziah Lyn Tabora’s World Cup (bowling)
After a successful stint in the 53rd QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup (BWC), held last November, in Mexico, 26-year-old Krizziah Lyn Tabora is determined to bring the bowling glory back to the Philippines. She is only the fifth Filipino to have won a BWC, joining the likes of Paeng Nepomuceno (‘76, ‘80, ‘92, ‘96), Lita dela Rosa (‘78), Bong Coo (‘79), and CJ Suarez (‘03).
1. 2023 FIBA World hosting announcement (basketball)
It’s the one that the Philippines has been praying for: a chance to host the FIBA World Cup again and it’s finally going to happen in 2023! Winning the rights with Japan and Indonesia, the basketball-crazed country is hosting the competition again after doing it way back in 1978. Back then, only 14 teams joined in and there was no three-point goal yet. This time, 32 teams are playing and the competition level is at its highest. The Filipino fans have also drastically evolved in the last four decades. Whenever, wherever there’s a Gilas game, there also lies our PUSO.
Photos courtesy of the Manila Bulletin Photography Team.