Athletics, basketball, billiards, bowling, boxing, chess, and swimming are some of the sports that gave the Philippines international fame. SPOT.ph lists 10 athletes who blazed trails and brought great pride to our country.
Inside the ring, the soft-spoken Manny Pacquiao turns into a lean mean fighting machine.
1. EMMANUEL "MANNY" PACQUIAO (Boxing)
Pacquiao, whom sports pundits dubbed "Pacman" for his speed, is the first boxer in the world to win seven world titles in different divisions (flyweight, super bantamweight, featherweight, super featherweight, lightweight, light welterweight, and welterweight). His superstar status and triumphs inside the boxing ring finally spilled over to the political arena when he won as congressman of Sarangani province in the 15th Philippine Congress. Nevertheless, talks are still underway for his November 13 match with the flamboyant Floyd Mayweather Jr. A fighting congressman? Why not? Just don’t make him sing that awful "Para Sa ’Yo ang Laban na ’To" or do a Wapakman sequel.
Fil-Am swimming sensation Daniel Coakley is Teofilo Yldefonso’s great grandson.
2. TEOFILO YLDEFONSO (Swimming)
Yldefonso, a native of Ilocos Norte, won the 200-meter breaststroke bronze medals in the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam. He won another bronze at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1932. He was the first Filipino athlete to win multiple Olympic medals. He earned the nickname "Ilocano Shark" for incredible swimming skills. But he wasn’t just a swimming hero. He also fought against the Japanese in World War II. He survived the Bataan Death March, he died in Tarlac’s Capas Concentration Camp in 1943. Though it’s hard to find photos of Yldefonso, his legacy lives on in his great grandson Daniel Coakley, who swam for the Philippine team in the Southeast Asian Games in 2007 and broke the record in the 50-meter freestyle by clocking 22.80 seconds. The boy’s got some good genes.