Donaire is Star's Athlete of the Year

Posted at 12/25/12 11:36 AM

Filipino boxer Nonito Donaire Jr.
MANILA, Philippines – Filipino boxer Nonito Donaire Jr. was selected by the newspaper Philippine Star as its “Athlete of the Year.”

Donaire topped the list, which was published on Tuesday, beating fellow boxers Manny Pacquiao at No. 2 and Brian Viloria at No. 4.

“He rises on the year of the Great Fall. And for pulling off a shattering third knockout over Mexican Jorge Arce, Nonito ‘The Filipino Flash’ Donaire Jr.’s fourth victory in the season would easily merit the sport’s highest accolade for the year,” the newspaper said of Donaire.

The newspaper noted that Donaire’s win came a week after Pacquiao’s shocking loss to Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez.

“Donaire led Filipino fans from the depth of despair to a height of another triumph. And for this, Donaire easily made the grade as The STAR’s Athlete of the Year,” it said.

The newspaper said the country’s victories and defeats in boxing “best described” Philippine sports in 2012, with boxers occupying the top spots in the list.

The Smart Gilas national team, Ateneo’s drive for five and San Beda’s three-peat also made the Top 10.

Smart Gilas made the list at No. 5 for winning the 2012 William Jones Cup in Taipei.

“LA Tenorio, the smallest man on the court, stood tallest in a 76-75 victory over a team from the US that secured [the Philippines’] first title in the annual tourney since Tim Cone’s PBA Centennial Team ruled the roost in 1998,” it said.

The three different champions of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) – Talk ‘N Text, B-Meg Derby Ace and Rain or Shine -- took the sixth spot, while Ateneo’s successful UAAP Season 75 campaign was at No. 7 and San Beda’s three-peat at the NCAA at No. 8.

The Philippine Azkals, despite failing to make the finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup, landed at the ninth spot on Star’s yearender.

For the last spot, the Star made a surprising selection: the country’s chessers.

“Despite its 21st place finish in the World Chess Olympiad, the Philippines still performed beyond expectations with the young Wesley So holding his ground against the world’s leading super GMs on the top board and the veteran Eugene Torre showing he still got what it takes to win big matches,” it said.

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