2019 is a history-making year for Philippine sports
Team Philippines had a successful campaign in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Philstar.com/Luisa Morales/Erwin Cagadas/Efigenio Toledo IV
2019 is a history-making year for Philippine sports
Rick Olivares (Philstar.com) - December 27, 2019 - 11:25am

MANILA, Philippines – Sports is also about making history. And the year 2019 is in many ways massive.

Here are some of the reasons why:

Ateneo continues to smash records in collegiate basketball

Why is Ateneo’s three-peat run impressive?

In 2017, the Blue Eagles defeated a La Salle team with a monster of a foreign player in Ben Mbala. The next season, they took down a very good UP team. Then for the trifecta, they knocked down a young UST team. Two veteran teams in La Salle and UP and a young one in UST.

That reminds me of the Eagles’ five-peat from 2008-2012 where they beat La Salle, FEU twice, UE and UST. That means they faced all challenges and was convincing in its wins over a talent-laden FEU team that came up alongside them. 

What makes their run all the more impressive is Ateneo is 8-8 in local tournaments. How difficult is that? The five-peat teams won 16 trophies in all competitions, but the longest streak was five. This team has won 8-8. What team has done that? Furthermore, their title run for Season 82 saw them go 16-0, obliterating the unbeaten 14-0 run of UST in 1993 (in the last of the pre-Final Four years).

UAAP Season 80
City Hoops
Filoil Premier Cup
Breakdown Basketball Invitationals
UAAP Season 81
Champions League
UAAP Season 82

The Philippines is a box office draw in the SEA Games

Speaking of recording breaking, the Philippines’ performance in the recently concluded Southeast Asian Games was one for the books. Hounded by problems in the early days of the hosting, the country’s showing on the playing field not to mention the terrific stories wrapped around many of them more than made up for the former. The result of 149 gold, 117 silver, and 121 bronze medals for a total haul of 387 is the Philippines’ best ever and it is the first time the country finished as the over-all champion.

Philippine football is back!

Adding to the historic touch, 2019 has been quite a year for the Philippine men’s national football team. The Azkals made their historic Asian Cup debut but were not able to get out of the group stage finishing 0-3 in Group C. The consolation was Stephan Schrock scored the country’s first ever goal in the competition (in a 3-1 loss to Kyrgyzstan).

The Azkals though are still battling it out in the second round of the Asian Qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. In Group A, they are behind leaders Syria and China in the five-nation bracket with a 2-1-2 record. 

They have three matches to play next year — against Guam (March 26), China, (June 4) and Maldives (June 9).

And more news on Philippine football: Qatar Airways in sponsoring the Philippine Football League! How cool is that?

Gymnastics takes a bold new leap

Another athlete out to make history for flag and country is gymnast Michael Yulo. For the longest time, the only gymnast in any Filipino’s mind is the now-retired Bea Lucero. Yulo is changing that and he is the second Pinoy thus far to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics along with pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena.

Manny Pacquiao continues to defy Father Time

And let’s leave it to Manny Pacquiao to continue to make history. At 41, he dealt Keith Thurman his first loss and claimed the WBA super welterweight belt as a result. His record is at an amazing 62-7-2. He is 3-0 in the last two years. You think he can’t keep this up?

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