The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) announced on Friday, 12 March 2021 the enshrinement of Philippine footballing legend Paulino Alcantara to the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame for his outstanding contributions to the sport, locally and internationally.
Alcantara joins nine other Philippine sporting icons in the fourth batch of enshrinees to the Hall of Fame. The recognition is bestowed on a Filipino athlete, coach, or trainer who have distinguished themselves in local and international sports and who possess character and integrity.
Long before Asians made their mark in world football, it was Alcantara, born in Iloilo, who put the continent – and the Philippines – in the map with his historic career for Futbol Club Barcelona. His record of 369 goals for the Spanish club stood for almost a century, broken only in 2014 by Argentina’s Lionel Messi.
His career in Spain allowed him to represent the Philippines during the 1917 Far Eastern Championship Games, which was the precursor to the modern-day Asian Games. His two goals against Japan contributed to the country’s biggest win in international competition and also helped the country claim a Silver Medal in the tournament.
Alcantara’s iconic career as a player remains a source of inspiration for footballers in the country. The Philippines’ national cup competition (Copa Paulino Alcantara) is named after him since 2018. His achievements also have not gone unnoticed internationally with both FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) citing him as one of the Greatest Asian Players in history.
PFF president Mariano Araneta, Jr. hailed the enshrinement of Paulino Alcantara to the Hall of Fame.
“Paulino Alcantara is undoubtedly the Philippines’ greatest football player in history. His inclusion to the Hall of Fame is a fitting recognition of his numerous achievements in the sport,” said Araneta. “We hope that his iconic career in world football will continue to serve as inspiration to our athletes, particularly the youth, that there is always an opportunity to showcase their abilities locally and on the world stage.”