Eagles of Excellence
FAMILY JEWELS by Michelle Dayrit-Soliven Phil. Star, July 26, 2009
The Ateneo Sports Hall of Fame Foundation awards Chris Tiu with a plaque of recognition for his excellence in sports and in academics. Handing him the award are ASHOF chairman Victor Sison, Michael Escaler and Tito Panlilio.
Upon his recent graduation, the Ateneo Sports Hall of Fame (ASHOF) honored a prodigious young Ateneo alumnus for his recent achievement as an excellent athlete, honor student and his success as a mass media personality. His name is Chris Tiu, definitely a certified well-rounded handsome eagle.
In that ASHOF recognition ceremony, it was interesting to discover that Chris Tiu follows a pedigreed line of noteworthy Ateneo alumni who earlier lived and pursued a highly successful well-rounded regimen.
These eagles lived and breathed mens sana in corpore sano, a sound mind in a sound body, in its purest and highest standard. Truly, they are excellent examples of excellence.
Chris Tiu is in good company. Ateneo has produced many outstanding well-rounded honor student-athletes. Of a much older generation, there was Jose Rizal, a champion fencer-summa cum laude-national hero combined. There was Ambrosio Padilla, an Olympic cager-bar topnotcher-senator and Luis “Moro” Lorenzo, national cager-honor student-prosperous businessman.
Of a younger generation, there are Ateneo Sports Hall of Famers who were honor students and now highly successful in their professional or business pursuits. Consider Arben Santos, Michael Escaler, Cristino “Tito” Panlilio, Edmidio “Boy” Ramos, Gregorio “Ogie” Narvasa, IT professional Edwin Chow, top banker Aurelio “Gigi” Montinola and Juan “Johnny” Velasquez of the popular Spirit of ’67 fame.
It is interesting to note that all these well-rounded eagles were Jesuit-trained from prep to college. It is definitely this valuable academic foundation that has made it possible for them to be honor students in this tough educational institution.
Here are their brief stories:
A true blue Atenean, shipping man and Management Engineering graduate Arben Santos was an all-around athlete playing varsity basketball, football, softball and track and field in the late ’60s. In high school, for overall athletic prowess, he was chosen Athlete of the Year. To this day, he is the only Atenean known to have joined four varsity sports. In 1968, he scored the winning goal to bring the NCAA football championship to Ateneo.
Arben is the owner of his own shipping company, Southwest Maritime. He also owns five Japan-built LPG vessels chartered by Shell. He managed the Ateneo senior basketball team from 1998 to 2005, and produced the 2002 champion team.
Between 1967 to 1972 was the golden era of NCAA track and field competitions. The cheering crowd from different NCAA schools would fill the Rizal Memorial Track Stadium. Michael, an AB Economics honorable mention graduate and president of the Student Catholic Action, completely dominated the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dash, and from high school to college, Michael was unbeaten in the sprints. Michael eventually ran for the country in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
Today, he is the owner of the country’s biggest sugar trading company, All Asian Countertrade, Inc. (ACCI) and is also chairman of PASUDECO sugar mill, and the San Fernando Electric Light & Power Company, Inc. (SFELAPCO).
Cristino “Tito” Panlilio
Like many star athletes of his time, Cristino “Tito” Panlilio was a multi-sports varsity player. He excelled in basketball and in athletics. Tito was a member of the NCAA College ’69 basketball champion team, and was a two-time NCAA all-star basketball team member.
At the end of the basketball season, he would practice for the high, broad and triple jumps, where he likewise reaped gold and silver medals in the NCAA track meets.
Tito, indefatigable in sports, is likewise a consistent honor student and an Ateneo MBA with distinction. He was perennial class president. Today, he is the president of Balibago Waterworks System, Inc. (BWSI), the biggest privately-owned provincial waterworks company. He is also a director of Maybank Philippines, Inc. and active in the Rotary Club of Makati and the upliftment of Filipino workmanship through Galing Pilipino Foundation.
Edmidio “Boy” Ramos
In his school days, Edmidio “Boy” Ramos was consistently on the top of his class, likewise winning in elocution, reading and mathematics. He also received the “Boy Scout of the Year” award. In college, he finished the Economics honors course.
He excelled in volleyball, having played for the juniors team that won the championship in the NCAA in 1973 and 1974. And again duplicating the feat in the seniors division in 1976 and 1977. These four championships may be hard to duplicate in the many years to come. As the team’s captain, he merited such awards as the “Most Valuable Player of the Ateneo NCAA” and “Outstanding Athlete” for volleyball.
In 2001, he joined Monark (the exclusive distributor of Caterpillar equipment) and five years later, became the current president. He is active in the Ateneo Alumni Affairs in raising funds for many alumni projects.
Gregorio “Ogie” Narvasa II
All throughout his life, lawyer Gregorio “Ogie” Narvasa II played championship basketball and was the MVP awardee in high school. Such accomplishment paved the way to his participation in the RP national basketball team which competed both in the Pesta Sukan Tournament in Singapore and the ABC Youth Basketball Tournament in Manila in 1978 and 1979.
In college, Ogie finished the Business Management honors program, then went to UP law school where he ranked eighth in his class and earned a membership to the prestigious Order of the Purple Feather honors society.
This founding partner of the noted Fortun Narvasa & Salazar Law Office was a consistent honor student and recipient of the prestigious Evelio Javier Award in 1977.
Despite his hectic schedule, Ogie, a young widower for eight years now, devotes much time in rearing his four growing children.
Edwin Chow finished his five-year BS Management Engineering course in four-and-a-half years while finding himself in the Dean’s List as well. At the same time, he garnered gold medals in the NCAA high jump event in the late ’70s, and a silver in the National Open.
He was also in Gintong Alay in 1981. Edwin is also a NCAA gold medalist in the hurdles event. For his achievements in track and field for the Ateneo, he will be inducted into the ASHOF this August 2009.
Edwin is presently the GM of Lawson Philippine Solutions & Service Center and finds fulfillment in proving that the Filipino can be the best in computer programming.
Aurelio “Gigi” Montinola III
The well-respected and multi-awarded banker Aurelio “Gigi” Montinola III has studied and worked hard to be where he is now--as president of BPI.
Another true blue Atenean, Gigi is an MBA Harvard graduate. At the Ateneo, he finished Management Engineering, cum laude, and was valedictorian of his high school class ’68. He is a member of the Ateneo ’66 NCAA champion softball team and the ’67 NCAA Ateneo champion volleyball and golf team. To this day, Gigi maintains a near-single-digit golf handicap, a mean feat by itself.
In banking, the legacy he leaves to society is to make banking more accessible and affordable through alternative channels such as the ATM, phone and Internet.
Having spent a year in Paris as an exchange student, Gigi has maintained close cultural and business ties with France and was even conferred the honor of “Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur” by the French government in 2007.
Juan “Johnny” Velasquez
Juan “Johnny” Velasquez is a top student-athlete-executive/entrepreneur, and in his midlife, attained a highly satisfying pursuit that of music artistry.
Johnny is the dashing vocalist of the lively Aliw awardee Spirit of ’67 band. But little do they know that he is a Stanford University MBA graduate after finishing AB Economics, cum laude.
In high school, he was a member of the NCAA 1966 Ateneo softball champion team, the golf team and a prominent cast member of Ateneo’s numerous annual drama productions--a certified well-rounded Atenean.
Today, Johnny is into property development, agribusiness ventures and heads a BPO operation of Solegy LLC, a New York company. Johnny believes Ateneo trained him for a higher purpose in life as to look after society’s greater good.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Eagles of Excellence