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Top 10 Pinoy Sports Icons
We list kick-ass Pinoy athletes who blazed trails and brought fame to our country.
Published on: Jul 14, 2010 - 9:45am

Fans admired Robert Jaworski's "never say die" attitude.

9. ROBERT JAWORSKI (Basketball)

He was University of the East Red Warriors player. Then, in 1966, he was part of the national team that represented the country in the Asian Games held in Bangkok, Thailand. The following year, he was part of the Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC) team that played in Seoul, South Korea, where they beat the host country. He was also part of the national team that won the 1973 staging of the ABC Games at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum in Manila. He played professional basketball for 23 years (from 1975 to 1998), playing for Toyota and, of course, Ginebra. Though Jaworski, who was nicknamed "The Big J," was criticized for being too intense on the hardcourt, he won many fans. He was 52 when he finally hung up his jersey. He ran for senator the year he retired from playing and won.


Eric Buhain inspires young swimmers to go for gold.

10. ERIC BUHAIN (Swimming)

When he was seven, Buhain suffered from primary lung complex. Luckily, he overcame it--though nobody ever thought he'd be a swimming champ one day. He became a member of the Philippine swimming team at age 11. At 15, he won his first cache of Southeast Asian (SEA) Games medals when Thailand hosted the event in 1985. He contributed to RP's 90-gold haul when the event was held in Manila in 1991. He retired from swimming after the 1993 SEA Games and was appointed by former President Gloria Arroyo as Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman in 2001. He was later named as Games and Amusement Board (GAB) chairman in 2005.


Art by Warren Espejo.


Image credits: (Lydia de Vega), (Manny Pacquiao), (Pancho Villa), and (Gabriel Elorde).

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  • ed1829
    i think it's better if they had posted the top icons per sports discipline. sa pinas kc, malimit ang kilala, yung basketball at boxing, no offense sa ibang sports discipline. nakakalungkot isipin lang na maraming potential sports na pwede tayong mag excel with our size na hindi natin pinapansin like soccer, o yung mismong national sports natin na sepak takraw, palagi tayong tinatalo ng ibang ASIAN countries.
    Oct 25 2010 @ 08:02pm     Reply  
  • Ophelia Baroni
    Why is that John Baylon not included in the list? He is the premiere judo icon in the philippines and have won 8 sea games gold medals.
    Oct 04 2010 @ 02:41pm     Reply  
  • Jeff
    paulino alcantara kaya di kilala dahil hindi naman sya naglalaro ng football dito. gets nyo? Saka early 1900's pa yung playing career nya. Isa pa, di mahilig sa football karamiha ng pinoy thats why they dont know Alcantara. So kung meron man di kilala yan, wag na magsalita ng kung ano pa kasi di nya kasalanan ni hindi nya kilala.
    Aug 10 2010 @ 09:13pm     Reply  
  • jobert
    what happened to Simeon Toribio? He was a high jumper who won bronze medals too.
    Aug 10 2010 @ 11:36am     Reply  
  • crazyboj
    bakit anjan si jawo, kung sa larangan ng basketball dami pa mas nagbigay papuri sa bansa natin kumpara sa kanya na sa manila lang sikat...
    Aug 09 2010 @ 06:01pm     Reply  
  • tikiwiwi

    guess we should not argue who should and should not be in the list. Bottom line is we should be proud to be Filipinos and these folks should inspire us more to feel so... :-)
    Aug 09 2010 @ 08:52am     Reply  
  • Jolas
    Yeah why is Jawo in here? Did he professed fairness during Games?
    Aug 08 2010 @ 11:42am     Reply  
  • wenden
    @senyong...kilala si alcantara sa kabisayaan at mindanao dahil sikat ang football....pagsinabing alcantara icon ng philippine football....
    Aug 07 2010 @ 10:00pm     Reply  
  • wenden
    sorry guys pero si kung ako papipiliin mas malayo ang napuntahan ni Alcantara sa larangan ng football/soccer, sikat sa Barcelona, Spain at hinahangaan ng karamihan dahil nabutas nya ang net ng goal sa isang strike nya...yung nga lang indi sikat ang football sa atin...
    sorry eto lang ang sa palagay ko pwede din tie sila sa 10th place....
    Aug 07 2010 @ 09:55pm     Reply  
    Aug 07 2010 @ 08:02am     Reply  
  • aa
    Aug 06 2010 @ 09:42pm     Reply  
  • kit_cebu
    why is jaworski here? sure he's a ginebra and manila....but not in the whole league...
    Aug 06 2010 @ 02:57am     Reply  
  • rndredd
    PROUD TO BE FILIPINO.....with a great and long list of outstanding Filipino athletes, hopefully the new Aquino administration will get inspired to this and get more attention on sports...less politics...
    Aug 04 2010 @ 08:36pm     Reply  
  • enteng bisaya
    buong mundo, maliban sa mga pilipino, idol si paulino alcantara. sobrang galing niya pero hindi niyo kilala. kawawa naman ang bansa natin.
    Aug 03 2010 @ 08:03pm     Reply  
  • dyowee
    Manny was called "Pacman" because the Americans cannot pronounce "Pacquiao" when he first came to the US. :)
    Jul 24 2010 @ 08:49am     Reply  
  • senyong
    di ba pag icon kilala ng lahat?pag sinabing lydia de vega alam mo na track and field, pag sinabi jaworski, basketball agad nasa isip paulino alcantara di ko po kilala.kelan ko lang nabasa mga ginawa loyzaga sikat din siguro noon pero ang kilala ko si chito at si joey.sori po.
    Jul 20 2010 @ 09:48pm     Reply  
  • El Torro
    @ Aa ; These guys missed that one huh, they even published an article by our Lourd talking about Paulino Alcantara just a few weeks ago. Alas, it seems SPOT has a BLIND SPOT for futbol...nyehehe
    Jul 19 2010 @ 04:15pm     Reply  
  • juan pablo
    jawo :D
    Jul 16 2010 @ 10:49am     Reply  
  • summer girl
    @ platinumangel, didn't know that lydia de vega is in singapore na! coaching the track & field team, no less. sayang naman, sana naalagaan siya dito para she could've been coaching our very own team. sigh.

    @ pototoystory, i think it's not that they want a longer list to include their suggestions. maybe it's that they believe the athletes they mentioned are much more worthy of being included in a Top 10 list, kesa dun sa ibang ipinasok :)
    Jul 15 2010 @ 08:40am     Reply  
  • Frontman
    Flash Elorde should be among the top 5, he more of an icon than pancho villa. Instead of the "Big J", the "Big difference" Caloy Logayza should have been there, he was the Godfather of Philippine Basketball for he was able to bring the Philippine Basketball team to the Olympics.
    Jul 14 2010 @ 10:39pm     Reply  
  • pototoystory3
    Hi Roel,Aa and Jack:

    I guess they have to select just 10 for the Top 10 Pinoy Sports Icons. :p
    Jul 14 2010 @ 08:26pm     Reply  
  • Jock
    Wala si Anthony Villanueva? SILVER MEDALIST sa BOXING sa TOKYO OLYMPICS 1964!
    Jul 14 2010 @ 07:10pm     Reply  
  • Aa
    Bakit wala si Paulino Alcantara? FC Barcelona's greatest football player.
    Jul 14 2010 @ 05:21pm     Reply  
  • roel
    How can they miss out Caloy Loyzaga? He gave the Philippines as bronze medal in FIBA World Championship back in 1954.
    Jul 14 2010 @ 01:25pm     Reply  
  • platinumangel
    they were such inspirations... but sad to know lydia d is a track & field coach in Singapore...
    Jul 14 2010 @ 01:14pm     Reply  
  • ivanicci
    i like the list, these athletes makes me proud to be a Filipino. Hope we could improve our sports program and hopefully bag that over-due gold medal in the olympics..

    special mentions should be given to:
    Elma Muros - Track and field
    Mansueto "onyok" Velasco - Boxing
    Jul 14 2010 @ 11:23am     Reply  
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