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Jaworski, Alcantara headline latest PH sports HOF batch

Basketball champion Robert Jaworski leads the newest members of the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame. Dennis Acosta (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Basketball icon Robert Jaworski, football legend Paulino Alcantara, champion swimmer Eric Buhain, and former long jump queen Elma Muros-Posadas will banner the latest batch of sportsmen inducted to the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame.

The PSHOF selection committee announced on Friday that the four athletes have been included in the newest members of the elite PSHOF group alongside six more sportsmen who excelled in their own rights.

Jaworski is arguably the biggest star in the newest HOF class as he has been a legendary fixture in basketball.

He was one of the members of the fabled University of the East squad that has won seven consecutive UAAP men's basketball championships, a feat that has not yet been matched up to this day.

In four consecutive stints for the Philippine team in the Asian Basketball Championship, now known as the FIBA Asia Cup, from 1967-1973, Jaworski never missed the podium, winning the golds in 1967 and 1973, the silver in 1969, and the bronze in 1971.

But his legacy was sealed during the early days of the PBA, first forming a "Big 3" with Mon Fernandez and Francis Arnaiz to lead Toyota to 13 championships.

He then became the Ginebra franchise's cornerstone when he moved there in 1984 and eventually became playing coach until 1997, instilling the never-say-die attitude that has been the club's mantra until now.

Alcantara, on the other hand, is Philippine football's first superstar.

Alcantara was a part of the Philippine team that thrashed Japan, 15-2, in the 1917 Far Eastern Championship Games, the predecessor to the Asian Games, the Philippines' biggest win in international football circuit by far.

Alcantara is more known as one of FC Barcelona's first superstars.

At just 15 years of age, Alcantara scored a hat trick—the first three goals of the match at that—for Barca in a 1912 rout of Catala SC, becoming the youngest to strike for Barca in an official game, a record that remains to this day.

Alcantara was a six-time champion in the Copa Del Rey, winning it all in 1912, 1913, 1920, 1922, 1925, and 1926.

Alcantara also played for Philippine football club Bohemian during the mid-1910's.

To give honor to his legacy, the Philippines Football League named its football cup event as Copa Paulino Alcantara.

Buhain, meanwhile, was one of Southeast Asia's best swimmers during the late 80's and the early 90's, winning 13 SEA Games gold medals including five during the Philippines' hosting in 1991.

He would become part of the Philippine team to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

Posadas, meanwhile, established her position as one of the Philippines' best long jumpers by amassing eight SEA Games golds in the said event along.

She would win seven more golds in heptathlon, the 100-meter hurdles, and the 100-meter, 200-meter, and 400-meter runs.

The other inductees include Olympic bronze medal winning boxers Leopoldo Serrantes and Roel Velasco, fellow Olympians Rogelio Onofre (athletics) and Gertrudes Lozada (swimming), champion bowler Arianne CerdeƱa, and champion diver and basketball player and coach Dionisio Calvo.

Each enshrinee will take home PHP200,000 and a trophy.

The said athletes' induction will be formalized through an enshrinement ceremony, whose details will be announced at a later date.

The ceremony is tentatively scheduled on May 29, but the selection committee is looking to move it to an earlier date.

Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez led the PSHOF selection committee as chairman, while Philippine Olympic Committee president Bambol Tolentino backstopped Ramirez as vice chairman.

Also making up the committee are Games and Amusements Board chairman Baham Mitra, POC and Philippine Football Federation secretary general Ed Gastanes, PhilCycling secretary general Billy Sumagui, Philippine Olympians Association president Akiko Thomson-Guevara, and UAAP executive director Rebo Saguisag.

Also helping the selection committee's cause is a review committee consisting of top sports media personalities Ed Andaya, Joe Antonio, Rey Bancod, Dodo Catacutan, Quinito Henson, Tessa Jazmines, Jun Lomibao, and Tito Talao.

"I am pleased with the choices of both the review and selection committees. Congratulations to all the 4th batch enshrinees!" Ramirez said.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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