of approximating the achievements of past national teams, which went all the way to win the gold. A silver medal that definitely meant a whole lot to the entire Filipino people.
But for a group whose modest goal was to accomplish a podium finish and punch its way to a ticket to the 2014 FIBA-World Cup in Spain, Gilas Pilipinas certainly more than exceeded the expectations of many with its improbable run in the world championship qualifier.
For the sheer impact of what it attained and uniting the Filipino people together with every win earned and every loss suffered for 11 straights days last year, the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) is proudly bestowing the honor 2013 Athlete of the Year to Gilas Pilipinas team.
The high-profiled cage squad is expected to lead the long list of athletes, personalities, and entities to be honored by the oldest media organization in the country during its Annual Awards Night at the Solaire Resort and Casino on January 25.
The formal gathering which the PSA is holding to honor the top achievers of the year just passed in partnership with Smart Sports, MILO, Philippine Sports Commission, Air21, Globalport, Rain or Shine, Sen. Chiz Escudero, Philippine Basketball Association, Accel, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office will have boxing great Manny Pacquiao as special guest and speaker.
Gilas Pilipinas became just the fourth team to be recognized as Athlete of the Year by the sports organization composed of editors, writers, and columnists from the national dailies, tabloids and website.
Previous group winners include Team Philippines (2005), Ateneo Blue Eagles (2012) and Team Manila (2012).
Others to be given are the Presidential Achievement Award, Executive of the Year, Major Awards, NSA of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award, Milo Junior Athlete Awards, Sixth Man Award, Mr. Football, Miss Volleyball and Tony Siddayao Award for deserving youth athletes.
The gold medalists in the recent Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar will also be cited, while dearly departed friends in Philippine sports will also be honored posthumously.