Photos from Pia Wurtzbach’s Instagram account @piawurtzbach

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach admitted that she isn’t really the best when it comes to sports. Rules and regulations? She’s quite knowledgeable about it though.

But ask her anything pageant-related and she’ll give you the finest answers just like a beauty queen.

So when she visited NBA’s Basketball Without Borders Global Camp during the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago, Wurtzbach realized how tremendous the support Filipinos give in the same way how beauty queens represent their respective nations.

There, she met 7-foot-2 basketball prodigy Kai Sotto, the closest Filipino player to reach the NBA. And Wurtzbach cannot help but recall the experience she had in the Miss Universe.

Speaking on One Sports’s program Sports Page, the 2015 Miss Universe was very clear that there’s a lot of similarities between sports and beauty pageants despite being completely different in dynamics.

“I do think na merong similarities ‘yung sports at ‘yung pageants,” said Wurtzbach, accompanied by fellow beauty queens Bianca Guidotti-Santos and Carla Lizardo. “Kasi pareho silang competition and parehong kailangan mong mag-prepare physically [and] also to be able to perform.”

Just like in sports, for instance, beauty queens undergo intense training — mostly around two to three months — to prepare for a one-time annual event. 

In the international scene, Gilas Pilipinas for example, many Filipinos tune in to their televisions to witness the national basketball team compete from the qualifiers to the actual main event in FIBA tournaments.

Read: Gilas to face Korea, Indonesia in Clark bubble

In the UAAP, there were quite a few events that happen once a year like the cheer dance and street dance competitions, wherein viewers prepare to line up for tickets as early as the night before the event. Then they storm and fill up either the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City or Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Read: UAAP cancels 83rd season

The performances were scored by judges based on certain criteria, much like every pageant. The rules and regulations also follow certain restrictions like time limits and deductions, again, much like every pageant.

“Sabi nga namin, na grabe, ‘pag lumalaban ka pala, parang ang feeling mo you’re training like an athlete,” said Wurtzbach.

Aside from physical play in sports, being mentally and emotionally prepared plays a huge role for the athletes. 

The terms “mental toughness” and “physicality of the game” are usually used in the sports lingos and these factors are also instrumental in beauty pageants, said Guidotti-Santos.

“It’s also about stepping out there, feeling the pressure, and performing despite that. A lot of that counts into play when it comes to pageants,” said the 2014 Binibining Pilipinas International, who recently started playing golf and practicing her swings here and there.

Then there comes the strict diet. 

Carla Lizardo, the winner of Mutya ng Pilipinas Intercontinental in 2010, said it was one of the hardest tasks to follow when preparing for a competition, relying mostly on selected food such as steamed chicken, vegetables and hard-boiled eggs among others.

Speaking of hard-boiled eggs, in the PBA, Magnolia star Paul Lee is one of those players who’s fond of digging in 20 pieces of eggs a day as a source of protein when he was preparing for the Philippine Cup restart since March.

Read: Coffee, food delivery: Two things Paul Lee had to control on road to weight loss

Before turning into a beauty queen and a sportscaster, Lizardo used to hold a badminton racket and hit shuttlecocks in the UAAP as team captain of Ateneo’s women’s badminton team. The sports run through her veins as her brother Joseph Lizardo was once a professional tennis player.

Now that the pageantry scene has evolved through the years, becoming more open with different advocacies and social issues, many sports icons also used the platform to share their beliefs.

Michelle Gumabao, former De La Salle volleyball standout who now plays for the Creamline Cool Smashers, was the recent athlete turned beauty queen that caught the attention of Filipinos.

With her intelligent answers and whole-hearted advocacies, Gumabao was named Binibining Pilipinas Globe in 2018 and the second-runner up of Miss Universe Philippines 2020.

One thing is for sure though, be it in sports or beauty pageants, the Filipino people will rally behind every participant bannering the Philippine flag. The two disciplines are very much alike in that aspect.

Source: Manila Bulletin (