Philippine Azkals’ veteran Stephan Schrock and Asian Games’ gold medalist Bianca Pagdanganan will be conferred with the Mr. Football and Ms. Golf awards, respectively, during the SMC-Philippine Sportswriters Association gala night on March 6 at the Centennial Hall of the Manila Hotel.
The 33-year-old Schrock and Pagdanganan, 22, will join Ms. and Mr. Basketball Jack Animam and Thirdy Ravena, Ms. and Mr. Volleyball Sisi Rondina and Bryan Bagunas, and Coach of the Year Pat Aquino as among those to be honored with special awards by the country’s oldest media organization in the event presented by the Philippine Sports Commission, MILO, Cignal TV, Philippine Basketball Association, AirAsia, and Rain or Shine.
For making the country proud with its exceptional performance that netted for the host the overall title of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, Team Philippines was the unanimous choice as the recipient of the coveted Athlete of the Year award.
Pagdanganan had her own share in the Filipinos’ successful title drive in the SEA Games as she spearheaded the country’s two-gold romp in golf by winning the women’s individual event and the women’s team event in tandem with Lois Kaye Go.
The recipient of the 2018 PSA Athlete of the Year (with fellow golfers Go and Yuka Saso, Hidilyn Diaz, and Margielyn Didal), Pagdanganan also won the Hawkeye El Tigre Invitational in Mexico last year.
A gold medal winner in the 2018 Asian Games, the Filipina golfer attended Gonzaga University and later, the University of Arizona, which she helped win the NCAA Division 1 women’s golf championships in the same year.
A sports and society major, Pagdanganan turned pro last year.
Schrock, meanwhile, will be receiving his second Mr. Football award after winning his first in 2013.
The veteran midfielder of Ceres Negros stood as the rock of the Philippine Azkals that is currently on a transition, serving as the captain of the U22 team in the SEA Games that came close to reaching the knockout stage.
The Fil-German player was also named by the ASEAN Football Federation as one of the recipients of the AFF Best XI Award during the AFF Awards held in Hanoi, Vietnam.
On the domestic front, Schrock led Ceres Negros to a third successive Football League title and steered the team to the ASEAN Zonal semifinals of the AFC Cup.
Along with goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, Schrock also spearheaded the Azkals’ campaign in the 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup joint qualifiers.