PSA fetes coaching legend, 'Thrilla' ref
() - February 4, 2011 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines –  A legendary coach and a prominent international boxing referee are fittingly the year’s recipients of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA).

The great basketball mentor Virgilio “Baby” Dalupan and outstanding ring official Carlos Padilla Jr. share center stage with the best and brightest of 2010 whom the country’s oldest media organization will honor in elegant rites during the PSA-Coca-Cola Annual Awards Night at the Manila Hotel on March 5.

Dalupan and Padilla will be cited for their huge contributions in their respective fields.

The two are among the numerous individual personalities and entities which are going to be given tribute during the event presented by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Accel, Harbour Centre and Nihao Mineral Resources International Inc.

Leading the list of awardees are world No. 1 billiards player Francisco “Django” Bustamante and Asian Games gold medalists Rey Saludar, Dennis Orcollo and Biboy Rivera, who are adjudged co-winners of the prestigious Athlete of the Year honor.

Fourteen individuals, meanwhile, will receive major awards including the silver medal winners in the Guangzhou Asiad and the reigning world men’s poomsae team composed of brothers Brian and Jean-Pierre Sabido and Anthony Matias.

To the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines, on the other hand, belongs the National Sports Association (NSA) of the year award.

Aptly called “The Maestro”, Dalupan, 87, remains as the yardstick among basketball coaches here in the country, owing to his coaching success be it in the amateurs or the professional.

The Hall of Fame bench guru is best remembered for steering the fabled Crispa Redmanizers to the first ever Grandslam feat in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), a springboard that led to the record 15 titles he won in Asia’s pioneering play-for-pay league.

 In tribute to Dalupan being the winningest coach in the 36-year history of the PBA, the PBA Press Corps appropriately named its Coach of the Year award in his behalf.

The son of Dr. Francisco Dalupan Sr., founder of the University of the East, is likewise the man behind the 12 UAAP championships of the UE Red Warriors – including an unprecedented seven in a row – the two varsity titles of the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the NCAA.

Dalupan attended the Ateneo de Manila University, where he was a member of the basketball team, captain of the football squad and a member of the track and field team.

Son of actor Carlos Sr. and father to sultry actress and singer ZsaZsa, Padilla also tried his hand in local movies, but would eventually find his niche in international boxing as a famous ref.

Now in his 70s, Padilla’s claim to fame came during the classic “Thrilla in Manila” heavyweight title fight when he served as the third man in the ring during the memorable bout between boxing legends Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier at the Araneta Coliseum in 1975.

Padilla was a late replacement after Frazier’s trainer, the late great Eddie Futch, objected to all three American referees earlier chosen for the match.

From there, Padilla went to referee other high profile fights in a career that spanned two decades. The Filipino was involved in championship bouts involving Sugar Ray Leonard and Wilfredo Benitez, Mike Tyson and Pinklon Thomas, Leonard and Roberto Duran, Duran versus Thomas Hearns, Salvador Sanchez opposite Wilfredo Gomez, among others.

Partial list of  PSA awardees

Athletes of the Year – Francisco “Django” Bustamante, Dennis Orcollo, Rey Saludar, Biboy Rivera

Major Awardees – National men’s poomsae team, national women’s basketball team, national men’s chess team, Warren Kiamco, Miguel Tabuena, Annie Albania, Nonito Donaire Jr, Ana Julaton, Donnie Nietes, Angelo Que, James Yap, RR Garcia, Yes Pogi, Jesse Guce

National Sports Association of the Year – Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP)

Hall of Fame – Efren “Bata” Reyes, Florencio Campomanes

Lifetime Achievement Award – Carlos Padilla, Virgilio “Baby” Dalupan

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