#THROWBACK2013 | Year in Review: Top Sports Moments

 A year before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the host country made the loudest soccer statement of the year. Spain entered the final of this year’s Confederations Cup, in many ways a dress rehearsal for the World Cup, having gone 29 straight matches without losing, dating back three years. But ninety seconds into the championship game, Spain gave up a goal to Brazil; later in the half, Brazilian phenom Neymar sent a perfectly-placed left-footed rocket into the corner of the net, giving Brazil a 2-0 lead over the defending World Cup champs. It was Neymar’s seventh goal in nine matches. Brazil won the game, played in Rio, 3-0. Neymar has said “it’s almost obligation” for Brazil to win the World Cup.

9. Diana Nyad’s Swim For The Ages

On four separate occasions, Diana Nyad had tried to become the first person to swim from Cuba to Miami without a protective shark cage. On three of those attempts, she was over 60 years old.  Rough seas and jellyfish stings and asthma attacks had thwarted her prior trips; so in September, she said she was giving it one last shot. This time, 53 hours after leaping into the ocean in Havana, she arrived safely on shore in Key West, an inspiration to people of all ages.

8. Kobe Paras is the FIBA 3x3 world slam dunk champion

Kobe Paras won the Slam Dunk Contest in the FIBA 3x3 competitions and followed up by throwing down another monster jam in the NCAA Juniors Finals.

7. LeBron James visits Manila

In early July it was announced that NBA superstar LeBron James would visit Manila for the first time on July 23, and free tickets to the event would be made available to the public on a first come, first-served basis at a Nike store in Taguig on July 18. As early as July 16, eager fans were already camping out and lining up at the store for a chance to get tickets to see the King live.

6. Gilas Pilipinas makes it to the FIBA World Cup

In front of an adoring home crowd, Gilas Pilipinas ended the country’s losing streak against bitter Asian rival South Korea in the semifinals of the 27th FIBA-Asia Championship with an emotional 86-79 victory that also sent the Philippines to the FIBA World Cup in Spain in 2014. A couple of months later, the U16 team duplicates Gilas’ feat, finishing second in the FIBA-Asia Under-16 championship to also qualify for the Under-16 World Cup.

5. Teng brothers go head to head in UAAP Finals

It was a touching way to end one of the best UAAP finals series ever. Siblings Jeric and Jeron Teng played for opposite sides in a fiercely-contested best-of-three finals between UST and DLSU that needed overtime in Game 3 to decide a winner. The Green Archers prevailed, 71-69.

4. The NBA hits town with the 2013 Global Games

History was made on October 10 when the Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers played in the first-ever NBA preseason game to be held in the Philippines. NBA legends Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Clyde Drexler, and Robert Horry along with current superstars James Harden, Dwight Howard, Jeremy Lin, Paul George and Danny Granger descended upon Manila and took the town by storm. The Rockets won, 116-96.

3. Lance Armstrong’s Big Lie

For many fans, Lance Armstrong was stating the obvious in January, when he admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he did indeed use performance-enhancing drugs during his seven Tour de France victories.

2. Rafael Nadal returns to the top

After starting 2013 on a down note by withdrawing from the Australian Open and dropping out of the top four, Rafa bounced back to capture the French Open and US Open titles to up his Grand Slam total to 13. In total he won 10 titles, enough to help him reclaim the no. 1 ranking.

1. The Miami Heat win back-to-back NBA titles

The Miami Heat's 27 game winning streak in the regular season almost went for naught as they were seconds away from losing to the San Antonio Spurs in the 2013 NBA Dinals. However, Ray Allen rescued the Miami Heat from the brink of defeat in Game 6 and LeBron James showed the world again why he is the best basketball player today as he sank a jumper to put the Spurs away in Game 7.

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