Manny up for Asian award
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - December 3, 2019 - 12:00am

Super WBA welterweight champion Sen. Manny Pacquiao is one of 10 short-listed candidates for the first-ever Asian Sportsman of the Year accolade to be given during the Gala Night of the fifth SPIA Asia Sports Industry Awards and Conference at the Grand Hyatt Ballroom, BGC, tonight.

Pacquiao and world floor exercise artistic gymnastics titlist Caloy Yulo are the only Filipinos in the short list which also includes two-time Winter Olympic figure skating gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, three-time Olympic swimming gold medalist Sun Yang of China and Indian cricketer Virat Kohli.

In the Asian Sportswoman of the Year category, the only Filipina in the 10 short-listed candidates roster is 2016 Olympic weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz. The nominees include South Korean pro golfer Jin Young Ko, Australian soccer star Samantha Kerr and Cambodia’s Jessa Khan who took the gold medal in the 49 kg na-waza jiu-jitsu event at the 2018 Asian Games. There is no Philippine nominee for the Asian Team of the Year award. Among the candidates for the team honor are the Chinese men’s national basketball team, Japanese women’s national basketball team, Iran men’s national volleyball team, Qatar national football team and Chinese national table tennis team.

There are over 20 award categories, including four specific to the Philippines. The exclusively Philippine categories are Best Mass Participation Event of the Year (candidates include the Milo Marathon, Run With Me and Cebu Marathon), Best Sponsorship of Sport, Team, Athlete and Event (candidates include SBMA, AXA, Pru Life and Honda), Best Live Experience and Best Youth Sports Program (candidates include Gawad Kalinga, Department of Education for Palarong Pambansa and City of Manila for its softball program).

Other award categories include Best E-sports Event, Best Brand Activation (candidates include Toby’s Adidas Shootout King and NBA Philippines’ Never Miss Campaign for the NBA Playoffs/Finals), Best Use of Technology in Sports, Best International Sporting Event (candidates include the Philippines’ Regent Aguilar Ironman Asia Pacific Championships, Rugby World Cup in Japan and the Suzuki Cup in Singapore), Best Sports Digital Platform (candidates include Alaska PlayPH and NBA Philippines Facebook page), Best Integrated Marketing Campaign, Best Sports Marketing Agency and Best Sports CSR Initiative. The MPBL has been nominated for two awards – Best Youth Sport Development Program and Best Amateur Sports Event.

A panel of 35 experts was assembled by SPIA to judge the winners. Awards will be given to the first, second and third placers in each category. SPIA is the only platform of its kind gathering brand promoters, rights holders, marketers, venue owners, destination managers, executives and media with a positive influence on the sports landscape in Asia.

Sport legends Ronaldo and Edwin Moses will be on stage to present the awards tonight. Ronaldo, 43, is popularly known as El Fenomeno and a three-time FIFA Player of the Year from Brazil. He was on the Brazilian squad that won the FIFA World Cup in 1994 and 2002. Ronaldo is the chairman and majority owner of the LaLiga club Real Valladolid. Moses, 64, bagged the gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles at the 1976 and 1984 Olympics and won the world championship in both events in 1983 and 1987. The Ohio-born Moses was an academic scholar at Morehouse College in Atlanta and competed for the school track team while majoring in physics and industrial engineering.

The two-day SPIA conference began yesterday with an all-star cast of speakers discussing the topics Business of Sports, Modern Sports Technology, Sport and Tourism, Integrity and Inclusion and Business of Football Asia. The focus sessions include touching on the SEA Games, this year’s Rugby World Cup, NBA craze in China and the Philippines, the future of e-sports, sports travel boom, integrity issues (security, betting, doping, welfare, code of conduct), sports for a cause, smart stadiums and venues and the FIBA World Cup. PHISGOC chairman and Speaker Rep. Allan Peter Cayetano and POC president Rep. Abraham Tolentino delivered the welcome remarks. Several Filipinos are in the list of speakers and discussants, including Gymnastics Association of the Philippines president Cynthia Carrion, PHISGOC chief operating officer Tats Suzara, NBA Philippines managing director Carlo Singson, international PR specialist Charmaine Cruz of Great Campaigns Asia, Alphaland City Club general manager and former PBA player Nic Belasco, Special Olympics Asia Pacific senior director for finance Jericho Mercado, Games and Amusements Board Dr. Radentor Viernes, Tourism Promotions Board Philippines deputy chief operating officer Arnold Gonzales, Philippine football star Phil Younghusband and Allianz Asia Pacific senior vice president Gino Riola.

Eric Gottschalk heads MMZ Sportz Marketing as CEO and is the man behind SPIA Asia which is all about recognizing sporting excellence in the region. This morning will be a continuation of the lecture series that started yesterday then at 1 p.m., there is the much-awaited Legends Talk with Ronaldo and Moses. At 6:30 p.m., a cocktail reception is scheduled then it’s the Gala Night at 8 p.m.

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