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Faces of the news

/ 07:15 AM September 02, 2018

ILLUSTRATION BY RENE ELEVERA

Danilo Concepcion

Saying he is “only human,” University of the Philippines (UP) president Danilo Concepcion has apologized to the UP community for attending the Kabataang Barangay (KB) reunion at the university’s alumni center on Aug. 25 with the group’s former head, Imee Marcos. Concepcion was president of KB-Metro Manila from 1976 to 1978. The UP community and other critics have slammed Concepcion’s “partying” with KB, a Marcos youth machinery during martial law, with some asking for his immediate resignation. His action, they said, is an insult to the university’s activist history and to the victims of martial law. In his statement, Concepcion said he attended the reunion out of his desire to meet “old-time” friends. This, he said, made him overlook its effect on the sentiments of the UP community.

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Lois Kaye Go, Yuka Saso and Bianca Pagdanganan

The never-say-die spirit seems to have left the basketball court to fuel the Philippine charge on the fairways of the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia instead. Down by nine strokes in team play with ace Yuka Saso also trailing by four in the individual contest going into the last 18 holes, the Philippines mounted a rally to gift the country with two gold medals that very few had expected at the start. Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan and Lois Kaye “LK” Go refused to be daunted by obstacles that stood in their way in the final round. They steadfastly reeled in China to within striking distance before Saso came up with a dream finish on the final hole to complete the Philippine rally. Their heroics turned coach Rick Gibson into a soothsayer of sorts. Before the tournament  started, Gibson said he was confident the three could pull off a surprise in the Asiad. The victory also broke the dry spell for the Philippines in Asian Games golf. Saso was in the middle of everything, her eagle on the final hole capping a dramatic finish to a very successful haul. The women’s golf team contributed two golds and one bronze to the Philippine medal tally in the Asiad.  “I never lost faith in myself and I never doubted this team from the beginning,” Saso said after a 66 highlighted by an eagle 3 on the 72nd hole at Pondok Indah Golf Club. “We are all fighters [in this team], and we all fought hard out there for the country.” Successful in their own golf careers, the trio proved themselves invincible as a team. Pagdanganan put it best when she noted how different it was to win for flag and country. “Nothing can top what I’m feeling right now,” she said. While contributing a bronze, Pagdanganan was also instrumental in the team victory, her final-round 66 coming when the team needed it most. LK Go may not have figured  that prominently in the team’s scorecard, but she was the glue that held the team together, officials said. “I feel like in my time right now, women are empowering the world,” Go said at a press conference in Manila. “It just means the world to us that we are able to represent not only the Philippines, but also women in general—in sports, in the world, and just in life.”  She added: “It just shows how much women can do, and how they deserve everyone’s respect.”

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Margielyn Didal

Her story, though far from being the typical sports role-model narrative, is now well-known. As a preteen, Margielyn Didal would often steal off to a nearby skateboard park, rent a board and practice her moves, much to the consternation of her parents. Her mom, Julie, feared she would only hurt herself, while her dad, Lito, wanted her to focus on her studies. But Margielyn was stubborn and pursued her sport with a passion that finally bore fruit. Didal won a gold medal in skateboard’s inaugural appearance at the Asian Games. She was a daredevil on the board, leaving the opposition biting the dust in Jakarta, and became the country’s latest sports heroine. Her victory was worth P6 million, the bounty tacked to a gold medal in the 18th edition of the Asiad. She is now focused on a bigger goal: bringing home the country’s first Olympic gold.

Tomas Osmeña

He had never publicly criticized President Duterte although Tomas Osmeña spoke against the local police following a series of killings in Metro Cebu. The gunman in the foiled ambush on an ally last July also  turned out to be a cop. Osmeña spoke about the “alarming” peace and order situation in Metro Cebu where more than 100 had been killed since February, even as the local police maintained that Cebu had remained “safe.” With his criticisms directed at the Cebu police for failing to address the peace and order problem in the city, it thus came as a surprise when Mr. Duterte described Osmeña’s “hubris” in a speech in Mandaue City, Cebu. Osmeña was also known to be close to Mr. Duterte, so allies of the Cebu official hope the two would soon patch up their differences.

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