SBP, JJFP share NSA of the Year award

The Philippine Star
SBP, JJFP share NSA of the Year award
Al S. Panlilio.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines —  In the year of many firsts for Philippine sports, two national federations simply stood out.

The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) and the Jiu Jitsu Federation of the Philippines (JJFP) provided some of the Filipino athletes’ shining moments in the world stage including a pair of historic feats in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.

On Jan. 29 at the grand ballroom of the Diamond Hotel, the SBP and JJFP will be hailed as the National Sports Associations (NSAs) of the Year in the San Miguel Corporation-Philippine Sportswriters Association (SMC-PSA) Awards Night.

The SBP headed by Al Panlilio has been the recipient of the award several times in the past, while it will be the first for JJFP led by Ferdinand Agustin to be recognized with the prestigious honor given out by the country’s oldest media organization under its president Nelson Beltran, sports editor of The Philippine Star.

The blue-ribbon event is presented by ArenaPlus, the leading sports entertainment gateway in the Philippines, together with the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee, Milo, Cignal and PLDT/Smart as major sponsors.

The 7 p.m. gala is also backed by 1-Pacman Partylist Rep. Mikee Romero, Rain or Shine, Premier Volleyball League and the Philippine Basketball Association.

The SBP spearheaded the country’s successful co-hosting of the FIBA World Cup, which the country staged for the first time after 45 years.

Gilas Pilipinas then ended 61 years of wait when it finally bagged the long-cherished gold in the Asiad, highlighted by its dramatic 77-76 come-from-behind victory over host and defending champion China in the semis, and an 80-70 beating of Jordan in the finals.

The men’s team also successfully regained the basketball gold in the Southeast Asian Games by holding off a Cambodia side heavily laden with naturalized players, 80-69, in the championship game.

In between, Gilas also earned one of three Asian berths for the qualifying tournament of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

JJFP also made history in 2023 by winning two Asiad gold medals courtesy of Margarita “Meggie” Ochoa and Annie Ramirez.

The two golds reciprocated the same output the women’s golf team of Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye Go won during the 2018 edition of the Asiad in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The pair of golds was likewise a breakthrough for jiu-jitsu in the continental showpiece.

During the World Combat Games in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the sport accounted for one of the three golds won by the country through Kaila Napolis.

And in a victory that warmed the hearts, young prodigy Aielle Aguilar repeated as world champion with her triumph in the Girls Kids 2 White Belt 17kg category of the Abu Dhabi World Festival Jiu-jitsu Championships in the UAE.

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