Trip down memory lane as Filipino icons grace SEA Games 2019 opening

Delfin Dioquino
Trip down memory lane as Filipino icons grace SEA Games 2019 opening

Josh Albelda

Eight Filipino sporting legends gather for one night and take centerstage in a memorable SEA Games spectacle


BOCAUE, Philippines – It felt like a trip down memory lane as 8 of the Philippines’ greatest sporting icons graced the opening ceremonies of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games on Saturday, November 30. 

The Filipino legends, whose sporting exploits are now just chronicled in history books, showed up in the flesh at the Philippine Arena here and took centerstage as they carried the Southeast Asian Games Federation flag to the delight of the crowd. 

Seven-time SEA Games track gold medalist Lydia de Vega led the crew that included 15-time SEA Games gold medalist swimmer Eric Buhain, four-time bowling world champion Bong Coo, and PBA legend Alvin Patrimonio. 

Two-time SEA Games boxing gold medalist and Olympic silver medalist Onyok Velasco, six-time bowling world champion Paeng Nepomuceno, and seven-time SEA Games gold medalist swimmer Akiko Thomson were also present.

Although it was a star-studded lineup, it was four-time eight-ball world champion Efren “Bata” Reyes who drew the loudest applause among the lot when his name was introduced.

Reyes, now 65, will see action in possibly his last SEA Games as he represents the country in carom billiards. –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.