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Air 21

Essay by review  •  November 20, 2010  •  Essay  •  839 Words (4 Pages)  •  581 Views

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Looking back, the section, born in a snap with the first issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Dec. 9, 1985, has never missed a beat in its triumphant mission to chronicle significant events both in the world and national sports fields.

In fact, the first PDI sports headline blares "Navyman triumphs." In that story, J.R. Alibutud reports that "unheralded, Wilfredo Ballester, trailing all the way, swept past a fading Allan Pico with less than three kilometers left to bag the 13th Milo Marathon at the Cultural Center."

It was a Monday, with the section also carrying the Associated Press story on Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej lighting the flame of the 13th Southeast Asian Games.

From one SEA Games to another.

It's no plain coincidence that the PDI sports section marks

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its 20th birth with the country still in thrill over the 23rd SEA Games which the Philippines has just finished hosting.

For the first time since the country joined the biennial SEAG in Kuala Lumpur in 1977, the Philippines nailed the overall championship, cornering 113 gold, 76 silver and 85 bronze medals.

Born in the heat of a regional sports competition during the Bangkok SEAG, with precision and punctuality a must for reporters and editors, PDI Sports has remained in the thick of the action.

The first listed PDI sports section editor was Ignacio Dee, who called the shots for months, before veteran sports journalist Manolo Iсigo took over the helm.

Iсigo, after a long, distinguished stint, retired and the sports editorship was passed on to Al S. Mendoza, multi-awarded poet and short story writer. Himself a resourceful columnist, Mendoza endowed the section with renewed vigor.

In fact, it was Mendoza's unblinking commitment to his craft and calling which fully exposed age cheating in the World Little League Baseball championships, thereby ending with the Philippines' 1992 world champion team from Zamboanga returning the championship trophy.

Team triumphs and individual heroics. But the section also stood out with a series of exposes, like the overpriced renovation of the Ninoy Aquino Stadium in 1986, an anomaly that involved sports officials who were later charged in court.

The sex scandal involving a top Filipino swimming official, who was found to have molested a young volunteer at the back of an official car during the Chiang Mai SEA Games in 1994, did not escape the prying eyes of PDI Sports. The official had to eventually relinquish his post.

Basketball has remained main fare, with the PBA providing the biggest arena. But, while basketball action hogged the spotlight, unsavory happenings in the local pro league, like the drug scandal in the pros and the case of the so-called Fil-Shams, were similarly brought out in the open.

In October 1986, a couple of months before it turned a year old, PDI Sports joined the nation in celebrating Lydia

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