Top 10 Filipino Athletes (2010)

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The following athletes bannered the Philippine flag sky high in 2010, proving their global-class might in the international arena.

Annie Albania was once described by Manny Pacquiao's coach Freddie Roach as “cocky” and “confident”, being the best Filipina amateur boxer to date. After winning two gold medals in the Southeast Asian Games, Albania snatched the silver medal in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, narrowly losing to Chinese Ren Cancan in the finals.

9. Philspada National Team

The Philspada National Team is first differently-abled national team to participate in the inaugural Asian Para-Games in Guangzhou, China. The team, sanctioned by the Philippine Sports Association for the Differently-Abled, landed on 21st place with four silver and three bronze medals.

Despite a dismal showing of the Philippine billiards team in the 2010 Asian Games, Dennis Orcollo managed to get the gold medal in 9-ball pool, an event where he is the top seed. Prior to his first ever Asiad stint, he also won the 2010 World Pool Masters in Las Vegas.

If the Philippines is still waiting for the first Filipino player in the National Basketball Association, Filipino-American Tim Lincecum has been one of the most successful pitchers in Major League Baseball in recent years. After bagging two consecutive Cy Young Awards, Lincecum got his first championship ring, with the San Francisco Giants winning over the Texas Rangers.

Former world champion Engelberto Rivera affirmed his class in international bowling, winning the Philippines' first gold medal in the 2010 Asian Games.

The Philippine Chess Team, composed of Wesley So, Eugene Torre, Rogelio Antonio, Jr., Darwin Laylo, and John Paul Gomez, is said to have overachieved in the 2010 Asian Games, winning the Philippines' first ever Asiad medal in chess—a silver. Before bowing to world number 3 China in the finals, the Philippines, ranked 32 in the world, beat world number 7 India twice and world number 29 Uzbekistan.

Missing the World Pool Championship (WPC) trophy by a hairline in 2002, legendary pool player Francisco “Django” Bustamante bounced back eight years later to snatch the 2010 WPC in Doha, Qatar, finishing finalist Kuo Po-Cheng of Taiwan via a golden break in the final rack of pool's most prestigious tournament. Months later, Bustamante became the second Filipino to be inducted in the Billiards Congress of America Hall of Fame, joining compatriot and fellow legend Efren Reyes in the elite club.

Rey Saludar is Philippine amateur boxing's best kept secret, and he was unleashed in the 2010 Asian Games, knocking out all his opponents en route to the gold. The pride of Polomolok, South Cotabato may be the country's best hope for an Olympic gold medal in 2012.

Football is a team sport that best suits the Filipino physique, but sadly, it is one of the most forgotten sports in this basketball-crazed nation. Or so it was. The Philippine Football Team, popularly known as the “Azkals”, blanked former champion Vietnam, 2-0, in the biennial ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup, the region's premier football tournament. Though losing in the semifinals to Indonesia, the Azkals' overnight success in the regional scene manifested Filipino teamwork and determination as raw ingredients to football success.

Manny Pacquiao, after demolishing Mexican giant Antonio Margarito in November 2010, may have cemented his reputation as the world's greatest boxer of his era, winning ten world titles (seven major titles and three lenial titles) in eight divisions. Furthermore, Pacquiao has also won a battle he once lost—a congressional seat—when he won as representative of Sarangani in the 2010 elections.




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