This Year Ender List of the Good News in Philippine Sports celebrates displays of excellent skills and sportsmanship by Filipino athletes even amid the global health crisis.
Filipino athletes and coaches excelled in various sports – in boxing, tennis, basketball, chess, and karate – and showed the world grit and determination despite hardships.
These are the 8 Best Good News from Philippine Schools in 2020 that received the most love from GoodNewsPilipinas.com readers:
8. Erik Spoelstra voted NBA’s Best Head Coach
Filipino-American coach Erik Spoelstra, the first Filipino and first Asian to ever coach an NBA team, was voted as the Best Head Coach in the 2020-2021 NBA season.
Miami Heat’s Spoelstra, whose mother hails from San Pablo City, Laguna, grabbed the 3 top spots out of 6 categories for “coaches” in the 19th annual NBA.com General Managers Survey published in December by John Schuhmann of NBA.com.
Miami Heat’s Fil-Am coach Erik Spoelstra voted NBA’s Best Head Coach
7. Carlos Yulo is World’s No. 1 gymnast
The Philippines’ champion gymnast Carlos Edriel “Caloy” Yulo topped the International Gymnastics Federation’s World Rankings in the floor exercise.
Tokyo Olympics-bound Caloy Yulo completed two bronze finishes from the All-Japan Gymnastics Championships in Takasaki Arena in December and now shares the No. 1 spot.
6. James De Los Santos is World No. 1 e-Kata player
The Philippines’ e-Kata champion James De Los Santos firmed up his hold on the World No. 1 rank.
De Los Santos had a streak of successive 3-golds-in-1-day medal hauls to wrap up the year with 36 golds and 6 Grand Winner titles.
James De Los Santos bags 3 golds in 1 day, claims 3rd grand winner title
5. Coach Mike Magpayo makes historic 1st win in NCAA
Filipino coach Mike Magpayo made history as the first Asian-American head coach to win a Division 1 men’s basketball game of the United States National Collegiate Athletic Association when the University of California Riverside Highlanders won over the Washington Huskies in Las Vegas in early December.
The 41-year-old Magpayo was named head coach by the University of California, Riverside in July, becoming the first US NCAA men’s basketball coach of Asian and Filipino descent.
Filipino coach Mike Magpayo makes historic 1st win in US NCAA basketball
4. Wesley So wins online chess championships
Philippine-born super grandmaster Wesley So won online tourneys in 2020 including the first edition of the Clutch Chess Champions Showdown between the top American Grandmasters held in May.
So, representing the United States, went on to display his GM skills to upset World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen at the Skilling Open and now leads the Champions Chess Tour.
BREAKING NEWS: Wesley So wins 1st United States Clutch Chess Champions Showdown
3. Kai Sotto in the NBA G-League
Kai Sotto joined Team Ignite of the NBA G-League Elite Development in July for a shot at being the first native-born Filipino athlete to join America’s league.
Even amid his campaign for a spot in the NBA draft for 2021, Sotto pledged to rejoin the Gilas Pilipinas national team’s campaign for the FIBA Asian Cup Qualifiers.
The NBA G-League excited fans when it released in late December a 2-part video feature about the rising basketball star’s dream of becoming the first full-blooded Filipino in the NBA.
WATCH: NBA G-League excites fans with video features on Filipino Kai Sotto
2. Alex Eala, 1st Filipina to win Australian Open Grand Slam
The Philippines’ Alexandra “Alex” Eala became the first Filipina to win a Grand Slam title at the Australian Open after she and Indonesian tennis partner Priska Madelyn Nugroho beat their opponents to claim the 2020 Australian Open Junior Girls’ Doubles title in January.
Even before her Grand Slam title, Alex Eala already held the distinction of being the first Filipina tennis player to make a finals appearance at the Australian Open after she and her partner defeated top-seeded Linda Fruhvirtova of the Czech Republic and Kamilla Bartone of Latvia in the semifinal round. The pair then went on to beat their finals opponents Slovenia’s Ziva Falkner and Great Britain’s Matilda Mutavdzic.
Alex Eala, 1st Filipina to win Grand Slam Australian Open Girls Doubles Title
1. Manny Pacquiao named 21st Century’s Greatest Boxer
Filipino boxer Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao has been named the 21st Century’s Greatest Fighter while Nonito “The Flash” Donaire ranked 29th among the 50 champion boxers chosen by Give Me Sport. The world’s only 8-division champion boxer Pacquiao notched the highest honors as the title-holder of the Greatest Boxer of the 21st Century, edging out rival American Floyd Mayweather (2nd).
The A-list sports media outlet listed the two Filipinos among the 50 top-ranking fighters in the world from all weight-divisions who received the combined highest votes from Ranker website voters and the Give Me Sport choices in the list released in December.
Manny Pacquiao named 21st Century’s Greatest Boxer, Nonito Donaire ranked 29th
SHARE in the comments below, which is your favorite Best Good News in Philippine Sports this 2020?
Want to know how to be a Proud Pinoy? Like, Follow, Subscribe to GoodNewsPilipinas.com, and our socials Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Good News Pilipinas! TV on YouTube, for new good story notifications and e-mail newsletters for updates on more Filipino Pride stories