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The Manila Times as chronicler of PH sports

October 13, 2019

The Manila Times, the oldest existing English-language newspaper in this part of the universe turned 121 years old on Friday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Greetings, too, to the men and women, who have been putting this paper to bed everyday in pursuit of its duty to speak the truth. From our Chairman Emeritus, Dr. Dante A. Ang, Boss DAA to us, to our president and CEO, Dante Francis Ang 2nd, all department heads, editors and reporters, plain employees, GREETINGS and CONGRATULATIONS!

One hundred and twenty one years, wow. That’s a long time. That only means The Times has bore witness to all important and memorable moments that happened to all aspects of Filipino life, which includes sports since its first issue came out on October 11 up to the present time. That means that from that time, The Times has been covering and reporting everything the people would want to know about Philippine sports. Me, well, I had to rely on reports published by The Times the next day they occurred merely wishing how I love to be in those places.

Well no fan, not even a sportswriter, can be everywhere all the time and it’s not my fault to have been born late.

I grew up under the shadow of the TVT bldg. along Florentino St. in Sta. Cruz, Manila where The Times was holding office since 1958. As a newspaper carrier, I had to be there at 2 a.m. daily to deliver The Times subscription copies. After disposing off copies, I rested for a few hours in a small room provided by the then publisher Joaquin “Chino” Roces.

By 8 a.m., I’ll be on my bike to attend my classes then back again at noon this time to deliver the afternoon paper, Daily Mirror, then back to school late afternoon for my evening classes. I was pursuing a college degree. That was my routine for a few years until I was promoted to janitor, clerk in several departments, then sportswriter in 1971.

Reason why I could only wish I was there when the first sport engaged in by the Filipinos – baseball – was played in 1898 and 13 years later when the first organized sports got started here with the establishment of then-Philippine Amateur Athletics Federation (PAAF). The Times was there, though.

The Times was there, too, when the Philippines and the Filipino athletes first tasted what it was competing in international competitions in 1913 in Manila during the inaugural presentation of the Far East Games our campaigners dominated by winning the overall championship against the challenge from their counterparts from Japan, China and other Far Eastern countries.

Again, how I wish I was there.

The Times was there when the Filipinos repeated as overall champions 1n 1919, again in Manila, 1921 in Shanghai and 1925, also before their countrymen, which The Times, likewise, covered and recorded. In 1924, this paper also brought to every Filipino households’ living room the failed exploit of our lone countryman, David Nepomuceno, in the Paris Olympic Games.

And how can one ever forget the exploit of Filipino swimmer Teofilo Yldefonso, who won the country’s first Olympic medal — a bronze four years later in Amsterdam. In 1932 in Los Angeles, the man from Piddig, Ilocos Norte, duplicated his heroics, this time in the company of high jumper Simeon Toribio and boxer Jose “Cely” Villanueva, gifting the Philippines its finest Olympic performance with a”hot trick” of three bronze medals.

In 1923, The Times’ Manolo Villareal covered the fight between our own Pancho Villa and Jimmy Wilde of Whales at New York’s Polo Grounds where the Filipino Simon-pure fell his opponent seven times on the way to scoring a knockout in seven rounds to win the world flyweight championship and become the first Filipino and Asian to win a world boxing crown.

The fleet-footed Filipino was, likewise, elevated to boxing international Hall of Fame 31 years later in 1954 to become, too, the first from this shore and Asia, for that matter, to have been accorded the honor.

Thirty seven years later in 1960, another Filipino, Gabriel “Flash” Elorde knocked out Portuguese Harold Gomes also in seven rounds to become world junior lightweight belt owner. Elorde held the plum for seven years, the longest by anyone in the division to also earn his place in the HoF.

Still in boxing, Anthony Villanueva, son of 1932 Olympic medalist Jose “Cely”emerged the first Filipino to win an Olympic silver medal. He did the trick in 1964 in Tokyo. Villanueva was followed by another ring gladiator Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco who matched that heroics in Atlanta in 1996.

Only two years ago in the Rio de Janeiro Summer Games, a lady weightlifter, Hidilyn Diaz, duplicated her two male counterparts’ feat, bagging, too a silver, the country’s third so far, becoming the first woman athlete to bring home a silver. And the first, too, in her sport.

All these important events and many more that happened in Philippine sports have come to the awareness of our people and become relevant to their lives. Thanks to The Manila Times, which continuously and tirelessly, for the past 121 years has been bringing to your sala everything you ought to know.

Many more will come in the future.

Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net


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