In the world of sports, the summit of an athlete’s career is usually perceived to be the championship. Bringing one’s team to glory and beating the toughest opponents for the title of the “World’s Greatest” gives off a feeling like no other. However, greatness doesn’t just end with that. The cherry on top of all those championships and achievements comes with the induction into the Hall of Fame, where only the best of the best belong.
Many sports and institutions have their respective Halls of Fame honoring their own athletes, with the most popular Halls of Fame belonging to sports such as basketball, football, and baseball. Colleges like the University of Memphis, which has PBA legend and PBA Hall of Fame member Bobby Ray Parks Sr. as one of its inductees, established their own renditions of the Hall of Fame to honor their alumni athletes for their achievements during and after their stay in their respective colleges.
As with the others, De La Salle University also has its own Sports Hall of Fame, the DLSAA Sports Hall of Fame. Lasallian legends like Lim Eng Beng and Kurt Bachman, Jr., four-time Bowling World Cup winner Paeng Nepomuceno, and two-time basketball Olympian Ramoncito Campos are just some of the inductees in this prestigious group. The most recent group of inductees, awarded last April 19, 2013, included the likes of Ramon Abad Brobio (Golf), Lino Perez Castillejo, Jr. (Football), Eugenio Ramon “Gene” Reyes Gonzales (Fencing), Stephen Valenton Fernandez (Taekwondo), and Zandro “Jun” Pontevedra Limpot, Jr. (Basketball).
Established in 1992, the De La Salle Alumni Sports Foundation, through the efforts of HS’64 alumnus Carlos A. Velez and the rest of his class, started the “De La Salle Sports Hall of Fame Award”. It was eventually changed to its present name, “DLSAA Sports Hall of Fame Award”, in 2005 when it was turned over to the De La Salle Alumni Association (DLSAA).
The award, along with the DLSAA Lasallian Sports Achievement Award, comprise the set of awards known as the DLSAA Sports Honors. According to the DLSAA website, the DLSAA Sports Hall of Fame Award and the DLSAA Lasallian Sports Achievement Award are just two of the awards that they give, with the others being the DLSAA Distinguished Lasallian Award; DLSAA Lasallian Achievement Award; DLSAA Br. Benedict Award; DLSAA Chapter Honors, which has three levels, the DLSAA Outstanding Chapter Award, the DLSAA Outstanding Chapter President Award, and the DLSAA Chapter Special Citation Award; DLSAA Lasallian Merit Award; and the DLSAA Honorary Membership.
The DLSAA Sports Hall of Fame Award is awarded to athletes who have shown outstanding performance while representing either DLSU-Manila or any DLSB-PD (De La Salle Brothers – Philippine District) schools, either belonging to the individual sports or team sports category. Aside from being exceptionally good in the field of sports, the DLSAA website mentions that inductees should have also demonstrated the qualities of a good role model and must also have served as an inspiration to both Lasallians and the Filipino youth as well during their tenure. The DLSAA Hall of Fame currently has over 121 inductees; however, 49 of those inducted had already passed away, with some members having been inducted posthumously.
As a rule, inductees may only receive the distinguished award once, and a period of not less than 20 years from his/her graduation or last playing date should have had passed for one to be nominated. The DLSAA Lasallian Sports Achievement Award however, is given to those who haven’t reached that 20-year period. Moreover, nominations for the DLSAA Sports Hall of Fame Award or any of the awards that the DLSAA gives can be done by filling up the nomination form found in the DLSAA’s website.
“All new awardees are featured in the social media [sites], the [De La Salle Alumni] Association’s website, the REKTIKANO, [the] Alumni magazine, and the major newspapers,” Manny Blanco, DLSAA Committee Chair for Honors and Awards, says with regards to the increase in awareness the DLSAA Hall of Fame and its inductees have experienced.
Exceptional athletes however, aren’t the only ones being inducted to the DLSAA Hall of Fame as other Lasallians who have contributed to the enhancement of La Salle and/or Philippine sports as coaches, trainers, managers, project directors, cheerleaders, and officials have also been included. Prime examples of these would be former Green Archers Head Coach Franz Pumaren, who was inducted in 2008 and UAAP Season 77 Commissioner Andy Jao, who joined the DLSAA Hall of Fame the following year for his efforts in the field of sports broadcasting.
Being inducted to the DLSAA Sports Hall of Fame also comes with certain privileges. Inductees are personally invited to the One La Salle Night of Excellence Awards that is held every two years, with the next edition that will honor the new inductees set next year in April. Blanco also adds that the awardees are personally invited to other major events as well, wherein they are given the proper introductions and recognition.
Along with the other DLSAA awards, the nominees for the Sports Hall of Fame are still sourced from the alumni in general, which includes the DLSAA Chapters, and the members of the DLSAA Sports Honors Committee.
“There have been suggestions to ‘mobilize’ the awardees into a group to assist DLSU sports,” Blanco mentions when asked about possible changes in the future but he adds that this is easier said than done.