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Country’s best honored

Francis T.J. Ochoa and Mark Vincent C. Giongco
First Posted 05:07:51 06/03/2011


Filed Under: Sports, PSA, PSA Awards, Dennis Orcollo, Django Bustamante, Rey Saludar, Biboy Rivera



MANILA---Now that Dennis Orcollo has been recognized as not only one of the best billiards players in the country, but one of its best athletes as well, the pool shark with humble, seaside beginnings can’t ask for anything more.
“There’s nothing missing anymore [in my career],” the former fisherman told Inquirer.net in Filipino. “Even if I don’t win a world championship anymore, there’s nothing missing in my career anymore.”
Orcollo, bowler Biboy Rivera and boxer Rey Saludar were honored last night as co-Athletes of the Year during the Coca-Cola Philippine Sportswriters Association Awards night at the Manila Hotel for their gold-winning exploits at the Asian Games in Guangzhou China late last year.
“The only thing really important for me is representing the country and bringing honor to it,” said Orcollo, who beat compatriot Warren Kiamco in the centerpiece 9-ball finals in men’s billiards during the Asiad.
Rivera won the gold in men’s singles bowling while Saludar won the flyweight gold in men’s boxing.
“It's a great honor for me,” Rivera told Inquirer.net about being honored last night. “I consider it as one of my major accomplishments. To be included in the roster of the athletes of the year is to be able to accomplish something great to the country.
“I'm very happy that PSA recognized all our efforts, our victories in giving pride and honor to the country.”
“It's a great feeling,” Orcollo chimed in. “This is my first time. I feel like I’m living a dream.”
Fellow pool superstar Django Bustamante was also named co-Athlete of the Year by the country’s oldest news organization for winning last year’s world 9-ball championship.
“I’m very happy because at least, all my efforts bore fruit,” Bustamante said. “I’m thankful the PSA recognized my efforts and chose me to be one of the athletes of the year.”
Saludar also expressed joy in receiving a share of the highest award from the PSA, adding that he’s preparing for bigger fights ahead.
“We have a series of qualifying bouts coming up,” Saludar said in Filipino. The Asiad champion is being groomed as one of the gold medal hopefuls in the coming London Olympics.
The country’s top flyweight in the amateur ranks, however, said he has no plans of turning pro, despite an exciting, power-punching style tailor-made for prizefighting.
“That hasn’t even crossed my mind yet,” said Saludar.
And it wouldn't be complete without the star of stars.

Though fashionably late, pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao made sure his presence was felt merely with his starry aura.

But what stood out more is his moving speech.

"There is so much more to Philippine sports than boxing, there is so much more to Philippine sports than Manny Pacquiao," delivered the Saranggani representative Pacquiao, a four-time PSA athlete of the year awardee.



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