Freeman Cebu Sports

Fajardo, Jerusalem, Go share limelight

Emmanuel B. Villaruel - The Freeman
Fajardo, Jerusalem, Go share limelight
The top athletes and outstanding sportsmen pose for posterity with the members of Sportswriters Association of Cebu during the highly successful 38th SAC-SMB Cebu Sports Awards on Sunday, May 26, at The Terraces of Ayala Center Cebu.

CEBU, Philippines — Basketball superstar June Mar Fajardo, world boxing champion Melvin Jerusalem, and karting sensation William John Riley Go who made waves on the global stage took the spotlight as Athletes of the Year during the highly successful 38th Sportswriters Association of Cebu-San Miguel Beer (SAC-SMB) Cebu Sports Awards on Sunday, May 26, at The Terraces of Ayala Center Cebu.

The 34-year-old Fajardo, arguably the most dominant player in Philippine basketball today, extended his record for the most career Most Valuable Player awards in PBA history after grabbing the MVP trophy again for the seventh time in 2023.

More to it, the 6-foot-10 giant from the municipality of Pinamungajan in southern Cebu was part of Gilas Pilipinas that ended its 61-year title drought in the Asian Games last year.

Fajardo and the Gilas squad overpowered Jordan, 70-60, to grab Phl’s first Asiad basketball gold medal since 1962.

Jerusalem, 30, dethroned Japanese champion Masataka Taniguchi via second round knockout to seize the World Boxing Organization (WBO) minimumweight crown.

Renowned sports doctor Rhoel Dejano and karting prodigy William John Riley Go receive their awards as “Sportsman of the Year” and “Athlete of the Year”, respectively, during the 38th SAC-SMB Cebu Sports Awards on Sunday, May 26, at The Terraces of Ayala Center Cebu.

Jerusalem lost in his first defense by seventh round stoppage against the unbeaten mandatory challenger Oscar Collazo of Puerto Rico, but he shot back quickly to world glory when he unseated another Japanese champ Yudai Shigeoka by split decision to claim the World Boxing Council (WBC) 105-pound belt just two months ago. He’s the first Pinoy boxer to hold court in that weight division in the WBC.

Go, for his part, etched his name in stone as the first Filipino world champion in the Super ROK category of the South Garda Karting ROK Super Finals in Lonato, Italy in 2022.

Only 14 years old, Go inched closer to fulfilling his Formula-1 dreams after securing one of the top two spots in the Ferrari Driver Academy Shootout for Asia Pacific and Oceania. That propelled him to the FDA Scouting World Finals in Fiorano, Italy in 2023.

On the other hand, renowned sports doctor Rhoel Dejaño received the first ever Rico Navarro Trophy as “Sportsman of the Year”, while SAC President John Owen Pages bestowed upon Philippine Sports Commissioner Edward Hayco the Presidential Award.

“This is how I value this award and the members of the media who are behind this worthwhile undertaking. I’m deeply honored by this award. Speechless !”,” said Dejaño, who flew all the way from a conference in Madrid, Span just to receive in person the distinct honor bestowed upon him.

“This recognition is a testament to the endless hours of dedication, the sacrifices made, and the passion for my profession. Grateful for everyone who has been part of this incredible journey. This is for you!” Dejaño added.

Basketball skills trainer Jefferson Codera, chess patrons Atty. Jeah Jean Gacang and Engr. Jerry Maratas, and table tennis benefactor Jessica Jawad-Honoridez shared the limelight with the ORLACSAN (Orlando C. Sanchez) Award in their hands.

Together with the major awardees and those who received special citations, they were formally recognized not only for bringing honor and pride to the country but also for making noteworthy contributions to the local sports community. — (FREEMAN)

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