By Marivir R. Montebon
Melbourne – Filipino athletes on this side of the sunshine state are stylizing Valentine’s celebration in a sporty and Hollywood-inspired awards night for their winning athletes.
The Space Coast Pinoys (named after Space Coast in the vicinity of NASA), has recently awarded young and adult athletes, as they excelled in basketball, Tae kwando, jujutsu, marathon, and triathlon. The SCP is so far the only Filipino community-based organization in the US which reaches out to families and individuals with focus on athletic excellence and healthy lifestyles.
Its formal event, already becoming an anticipated tradition here, was inspired by the Hollywood red carpet style ceremony and fundraiser at the Holiday Inn Viera on February 11, 2017.
Emma Agcaoili was chosen the 2107 Young Female Athlete of the Year for her excellence in Tae Kwando, basketball, and wrestling in the 4th annual Sports Awards of the SCP. Twelve-year-old Agcaoili is a 1st degree black belter in Tae kwando.
In an interview for #Getreel online TV, Agcaoili said practice and discipline are important in order to succeed.
Cody Tyler Cumberland was the Young Male Athlete of the Year for his excellence in basketball and Brazilian jujutsu. Cumberland is 16, a high school student, and an instructor for Brazilian jujutsu top school.
He said that having a good coach is important in oder to excel. “The instructor checks on your progress, so that is very important.”
SCP president Eric Sison said that the organization now has five sports categories since it was established in 2013: basketball, marathon, triathlon, swimming, and golf.
“We have expanded to about a hundred individual members and families. This has strengthened our community here,” Sison revealed. He is a basketball player and has coached younger members of SCP.
National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NAFFAA) national president Brendan Flores graced the awards night and expressed pride at how Filipino athletes have become a cohesive and expanding group here. “The SCP is unique among Filipino groups of NAFFAA because it is fully dedicated to sports and is community based,” said Flores, who lives in the neighboring Jacksonville.
The SCP is the brainchild of Jane Hernando Catacutan, a physical therapist, who organized a group of basketball enthusiasts in 2013, since her husband Walter regularly plays basketball with newly found friends in Melbourne.
Playing basketball became a necessity from the rigors of work. Since then, she and the other founding members regularly met to train and eventually began recruiting sports buffs and families into their fold.
“We invited young members, because that meant the parents would also join and are interested in sports,” Catacutan said, who later became a marathoner and golfer.
SCP’s youngest member athlete is seven years old and the oldest should be in their 70s and still active in sports.
Lorna Santos Mazza, at 60 is a winning marathoner for 5K, 8K, half-marathons and full marathons. She is quick to say that she is not an elite runner, but being a finisher is enough, as she achieves her goal of lowering down bad cholesterol.
Mazza, a photographer and real estate broker by profession, regularly runs with her husband Tony. “That makes running an enjoyable routine,” she quipped. (Featured photo is the athletic family of Jane and Walter Catacutan with sons Dwight and David. Photos by Leani M. Auxilio)