Sunday, May 3, 2015

12 Renowned Pinoy Athletes Before Pacquiao

  1. Carlos “Caloy” Loyzaga - Known as “The Big Difference,” Carlos Loyzaga was one of the most dominant players in Philippine basketball before the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) was created. He was a two-time Olympian (1952, 1956) and is still the only Asian player to make it to the mythical team of the world championships. Loyzaga is also regarded as the best Filipino basketball player of all time.
  2. Paeng Nepomuceno - Rafael "Paeng" Nepomuceno is a six-time world bowling champion and is recognized as the greatest international bowler of all time. He holds the world record for the most career titles won in six different continents, currently 128.
  3. Robert Jaworski - Also known as “The Living Legend” or simply “Jawo,” Robert Jaworski is one of the most controversial but most-loved figures in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). Jaworski was the first-ever playing coach in the PBA and is known for making a champion team out of a Ginebra squad despite its lack of talent. In 2000, he was honored as one of the PBA’s 25 Greatest Players of all time. 
  4. Efren "Bata" Reyes - Efren “Bata” Reyes is known as “The Magician” for his stunning trick shots on the pool table. But what distinguished him among his peers was his achievement of becoming the first man in history to win world championships in two different billiard disciplines. Besides his world titles, he is also a 14-time Derby City Classic champion, a two-time World Cup champion, and a two-time World Pool League champion. Fans and analysts regard Reyes as the greatest pool player of all time. 
  5. Mansueto "Onyok" Velasco - Mansueto “Onyok” Velasco is one of the most celebrated Filipino Olympians for nearly scoring a gold medal in the 1996 Summer Games. His silver-medal finish that year was the Philippines' only medal in Atlanta. Before his Olympic feat, he was one of three boxers who clinched gold medals in the 1994 Asian Games. 
  6. Arsenio Laurel - Arsenio Laurel, the son of former President Jose P. Laurel, was the first two-time winner of the Macau Grand Prix, winning it consecutively in 1962 and 1963. He died at the age of 35 after crashing his car into the sea wall during the Macau Grand Prix in 1967. 
  7. Gabriel "Flash" Elorde - Gabriel “Flash” Elorde is considered as one of the greatest junior lightweight champion in boxing history. He held the junior lightweight title for seven years and is considered as one of the best Filipino boxers of all-time along with Pacquiao and Pancho Villa. 
  8. Paulino Alcantara - Paulino Alcantara was the first Filipino and Asian player to play for a European club. He spent most of his playing career at Barcelona FC where he also scored 100 goals in 69 matches. This made him the club's highest goalscorer (counting goals scored in both official games and friendlies). Although he didn't get much recognition in the past, Pinoy football fans today celebrate his achievements. 
  9. Teofilo Yldefonso - Swimmer Teofilo E. Yldefonzo is the first Filipino and Southeast Asian to win an Olympic medal, and the only Filipino to win multiple medals. He won two bronze medals in the 200-meter breaststroke event, at the 1928 and 1932 Olympics, and placed seventh in 1936. He was also a war hero, having fought against the Japanese during World War II in Bataan. He survived the Bataan Death March, but later died at the Capas Concentration Camp. 
  10. Lydia De Vega - Lydia de Vega was heralded as “Asia’s Fastest Woman” in the 1980s. She was first recognized after her gold medal performances at the 1981 Southeast Asian Games. De Vega also won the gold in the 100-meter dash in the 1982 New Delhi Asiad and in the 1986 Seoul Asiad. 
  11. Pancho Villa - Francisco Guilledo, commonly known as “Pancho Villa,” was the Philippines’ first boxing sensation. Despite standing at 5-foot-1, he became the first Asian to win the world flyweight title in 1923. Sadly, he died at the age of 23 from complications following a tooth extraction. Before his death, he collected a total of 89 wins, eight defeats, four draws and two no-contests in 103 fights. 
  12. Luisito Espinosa - Before Pacquiao came along, Luisito “Lindol” Espinosa was the country’s biggest boxing star, having won world titles two different weight divisions. In 1989, he won the WBA bantamweight title by knocking out Kaokor Galaxy in the first round. After losing the crown to Israel Contreras in 1991, he completed a dramatic comeback by snatching the WBC featherweight title from Manuel Medina.

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