8 Most Memorable Moments in Philippine Sports This 2016
By Jon Carlos Rodriguez
In 2016, streaks were halted and rivalries were renewed. There were heartbreaking losses, epic comebacks, and dramatic endings. Here are some of the most memorable Philippine sports moments of the year.
HIDILYN DIAZ WINS SILVER
When Zamboanga City native Hidilyn Diaz won silver at the 2016 Summer Games in Brazil, not only did she become the Philippines’ first female athlete to win an Olympic medal, she was also the first Filipino to medal in weightlifting. The last time the Philippines won an Olympic medal, Diaz was only five years old and Onyok Velasco was the country’s boxing icon.
GILAS VS THE WORLD
Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, Nando de Colo, and Tai Webster. These are some of the names that Team Philippines faced in a bid to qualify for the Olympics. Gilas Pilipinas failed to upset the more experienced stars of France and New Zealand, but thanks to Terrence Romeo’s stellar play–and Boracay braids–the Philippines made its mark in the global stage, you know, for future reference.
NBA STARS VISIT MANILA
Aside from Parker, Diaw, Nicolas Batum, and Tristan Thompson, several NBA stars also visited Manila to see firsthand the Filipino brand of hoop fandom. Portland’s Damian Lillard went on a tour for Adidas in June while legend Gary Payton opened a new NBA Store in November. Kobe Bryant, fresh off retirement, also visited Manila for Nike’s Mamba Mentality Tour. 2016 Finals MVP LeBron James was set for a September visit, but it was scratched due to “logistical challenges.”
PACQUIAO, STILL KING
He may have lost his Nike sponsorship early this year, but Manny Pacquiao, in his first bout as a Philippine senator, proved he is still king of the ring by winning the WBO welterweight title from Jessie Vargas by unanimous decision. The boxing icon showed a glimpse of his old speed and power, enough to score a knockdown in the second round. With Pacquiao “unretired”, will Floyd Mayweather follow suit?