Ambrosio Padilla

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Ambrosio Bibby Padilla (also known as 'Paddy') (7 December 1910 — 11 August 1996) was a Filipino basketball player who later served as a legislator of the Philippines from 1957 to 1972. He was known to have had an impressive career as a lawyer, a scholar and a writer. Despite his political agendas, his contributions to Philippine Basketball made an impact in Asian basketball development.

Early Life

Ambrosio Padilla was born on 7 December 1910 in Lingayen, Pangasinan to Dr. Nicanor Padilla and Ysabel Pena Bibby. His other siblings are Narciso, Sabino (who became a justice), Augusto, Benedicto (who became a congressman), Felix, Carmen, Florencia and Nicanor Jr.

He also has an older half-sister by the name of Aurora Padilla, from their father's first wife. She died in the cholera epidemic of 1888.


While studying at the Ateneo de Manila University, Padilla joined, and eventually became the captain of the school basketball team, the Blue Eagles. He led them to victory in the 1928 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Philippines Basketball Championship under their coach, James Martin, S.J.

Despite his training as an athlete, Padilla maintained a good academic record and graduated summa cum laude.

He went on to study law at the University of the Philippines, and joined the varsity baseball team. He graduated as salutatorian, and placed 3rd in the 1934 bar examinations. He later earned his doctorate in civil law at the University of Sto. Tomas.

Basketball career

Padilla played for the Philippines alongside Jacinto Ciria Cruz and Mariano Filomeno to capture the 1930 Far Eastern Games basketball gold medal in Tokyo, Japan. They won the medal again in 1934.

Padilla was captain the Philippine team under coach Dionisio Calvo when they won fifth place in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany. This has remained Asia's highest finish in the men's Olympic basketball history. Other notable members of Team Philippines during that time included Ciria Cruz and Charles Borck.

In 1938, Padilla retired from basketball to become the chairman of the Philippine Amateur Athletic Federation (PAAF), a position he held until 1954. Around this time, he settled down with Lourdes 'Lily' de las Alas, the eldest daughter of Don Antonio de las Alas, the finance secretary of President Manuel L. Quezon.

While in government, he was called into the International Basketball Federation to serve as Asia's vice president from 1956 to 1964. He founded, and was president of, the Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC), now known as FIBA Asia. His term lasted from 1960 to 1966, with his former coach Calvo as his secretary-general.

In 1970, Padilla was elected as the seventh and last president of the PAAF before it was replaced by the Department of Youth and Sports Department in 1976 (known as the Philippine Olympic Committee today).


Ambrosio Padilla was selected by President Ramon Magsaysay to serve as solicitor-general and government corporate counsel from 1954 to 1957. He won in the 1957 senatorial elections, and served three consecutive terms before quitting under the Marcos administration. He would later join the EDSA Revolution.

In recognition of Padilla's service, the Cory Aquino administration appointed him vice chairman of the Historic Constitutional Commission and was part of the group that drafted the 1987 Constitution.

Death and legacy

Padilla died on 11 August 1996. Because of his achievements in sports, he was placed with Carlos Loyzaga, Lauro Mumar, Jacinto Ciria Cruz, Charles Borck, Edgardo Ocampo, Mariano Tolentino, and his own Olympic coach Chito Calvo in the Philippine National Hall of Fame in January 1999.

In his honor, the Ateneo de Manila University named an award after him. The Ambrosio Padilla Award is an annual recognition given to the university's highest-grading varsity player.