Cebu’s sports leaders mourn Ballesteros’ sudden passing

By: Dale Rosal - CDN Digital | July 10,2023 - 10:18 AM

Ricky Ballesteros lifts the National Milo Little Olympics trophy. | From Ballesteros' Facebook page

Ricky Ballesteros lifts the National Milo Little Olympics trophy. | From Ballesteros’ Facebook page

CEBU CITY, Philippines—Some of Cebu’s sports leaders mourn the sudden passing of renowned sports personality Ricky Ballesteros.

Former Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) commissioner and Philippine basketball legend Ramon “El Presidente” Fernandez, current PSC commissioner Edward Hayco, and Cebu City Sports Commission (CCSC) Chairman John Pages expressed their sadness over Ballesteros’ sudden passing last Saturday, July 8, 2023.

READ: Former SFI executive director Ricky Ballesteros dies at 57

Ballesteros was a sports icon himself in Cebu’s sports scene. He is behind the National Milo Marathon’s record-setting 20,000 number of runners in 2017. 

Ballesteros also paved the way for Cebu’s hosting of the first Milo Little Olympics National Finals in 2009 and Cebu’s first hosting of the National Milo Marathon Finals in 2017 also. 

‘Dear friend’

In his statement sent to CDN Digital, Fernandez, said he lost a dear friend who touched so many lives one way or the other. 

Fernandez, through his charitable organization, the Ramon S. Fernandez Sports and Youth Development (RSFYD), partnered with Ballesteros’ events firm earlier this year to hold the first ever charity golf tilt dubbed as the “El Presidente Cup” last June in Liloan, Cebu.

After the golf tournament, Fernandez, Ballesteros, and the RFSYD, had future projects that would further develop sports in the country. 

“Ricky’s was a dear friend to so many of us, touched so many lives one way or the other. In his craft, he was exemplary and specifically in sports where he also was considered a prime mover, his untimely passing is a great loss,” said Fernandez, a PBA legend.

“Our working relationship then was filled with fun and happy moments as Ricky’s personality always livened up the mood of everyone around him. His dedication to the things he did was always deep and done with passion.”


For his part, Hayco, a former CCSC chairman and dancesport godfather of Cebu, said that Ballesteros was a strong believer of his dancesport advocacy. 

Hayco added that Ballesteros played a big role in finding a home for dancesport in Cebu. 

“Very deeply saddened [on the passing of Ballesteros]. Sir Ricky was a towering figure in sports as well as in the field of arts. He has this certain admirable mastery and depth whether it’s organizing sporting events, or the grand Sinulog. Ricky will be dearly missed. He will leave a profound void that is difficult to fill,” Hayco told CDN Digital. 


On the other hand, Pages revealed that he had several meetings with Ballesteros earlier this year to ask for inputs on Cebu City’s bid for Palarong Pambansa. 

Pages revealed that Ballesteros was very excited to bring back Palarong Pambansa after 30 years as he played a huge role in Cebu’s first hosting in 1994. 

READ: Ballesteros on Cebu City’s bid to host Palaro: It’s high time; they should prepare right now

“Ricky made a tremendous impact with the Sinulog, with Rotary and, most especially, with sports. He organized the Milo Marathon that drew a record 20,000 participants. He was the main architect of the success of the Milo Little Olympics. He managed the Cebu City Sports Center from 2001 to 2019,” said Pages.

“To me, he was a good friend. Days after I got appointed as Chairman of the Cebu City Sports Commission last year, I sat down with Ricky to listen to his ideas. He was as excited as I was to bring back the Palarong Pambansa to Cebu after 30 years. The last time I spoke to him was over a month ago when I needed his inputs for our Palaro bid. His sudden loss is shocking. Cebu lost someone who dearly loved sports and he will be greatly missed.” 

Ballesteros’ remains lie in state at the Our Lady of China Chapel in Sacred Heart Church along D. Jakosalem St.



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TAGS: Cebu‬, Cebu sports, Edward Hayco, John Pages, Ramon Fernandez, Ricky Ballesteros

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