Championing sports and lives the MVP way

Southeast Asian Games gold medalist and Olympic weightlifting silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz made a courtesy call to PLDT-Smart Chairman and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan in January 2020 ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualifiers. Ms. Diaz, now the country’s first Olympic gold medalist, was a beneficiary of the MVP Sports Foundation, an organization under the MVP Group of Companies that supports Filipino athletes as they train to bring honor to the Philippines in their respective sporting events. In photo (LR) are PLDT Chief Revenue Officer and Smart President & CEO Al S. Panlilio; PLDT Chairman and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan; Hidilyn Diaz; Samahang Weightlifting ng Pilipinas President Monico Puentevella; and MVP Sports Foundation Executive Director Ryan Gregorio. –

A born leader who worked his way up the ranks is now among the country’s top businessmen. Beyond his business ventures, Manuel V. Pangilinan or MVP is a strong supporter of Philippine athletes through championing sporting programs. He truly lives up to his name and has initials that emphasize his value and impact in the country’s sports scene.

Having been raised by parents who are both sports enthusiasts, Mr. Pangilinan grew fond of basketball, baseball, tennis and badminton. Today, aside from handling numerous roles across some of the Philippines’ leading companies, he is a sports advocate who actively spearheads countless sports organizations and associations in service for the Filipino people.

For two consecutive terms (from 2007-2016), Mr. Pangilinan served as the first president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), the national sports association for basketball in the country.

Under his watch as the president of the national sports association for basketball, Mr. Pangilinan took the right to host the 2013 FIBA ​​Asia Championships, an international basketball championship organized by FIBA ​​Asia that served as the qualifying tournament for the 2014 FIBA ​​Basketball World Cup in Spain.

Succeeded by current SBP President Alfredo S. Panlilio, who also served as team governor for the Meralco Bolts at the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), Mr. Pangilinan became the SBP chairman emeritus at present.

In ramping up their preparations for the country’s co-hosting of the FIBA ​​Basketball World Cup (FBWC) 2023, for Mr. Pangilinan, who also serves as a FIBA ​​Central Board Member, it is vital to keep an eye on the objective, which is to prove that the Filipinos can host a world-class event and even go beyond the expectations and standards of the international audience despite the long pause that occurred as the last time the country hosted the said competition was in 1978.

Being a sports patron, he is extremely happy that FIBA ​​has decided to award the hosting right for the FBWC 2023 to Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia – the first time in the competition’s history that the FIBA ​​Basketball World Cup will be staged in more than one country.

In the field of basketball, it’s no secret that Mr. Pangilinan is a fan and a well-known benefactor of the country’s national basketball team Gilas Pilipinas, as well as collegiate teams from San Beda, Ateneo de Manila University, and University of the Philippines.

Aside from basketball, his support extends to other sports disciplines through serving as chairman of the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines (ABAP), the country’s governing body for amateur boxing and establishing the MVP Sports Foundation, Inc. (MVPSF), a privately-funded sports development foundation of the MVP Group of Companies focused on helping Filipino athletes of badminton, basketball, boxing, cycling, football, golf, taekwondo, rugby, and weightlifting.

MVP engrossed in everything sports. Under his leadership, PLDT and Smart Communications, Inc. deployed their fixed and wireless networks to provide critically needed connectivity for the 30th Southeast Asian Games in New Clark City on 2019. His companies’ products, services, and programs on almost all fronts provide physical, psychological, financial, and emotional support to sports heroes and sports fans in every way.

With that, during the 4th Philippine Sports Tourism Awards, Mr. Pangilinan was recognized as the private sector’s Sports Tourism Personality of the Year for 2019.

He has reiterated that his thrust is to make the Filipino athlete relevant internationally and that the only way to improve is to compete against those better than the local gene pool, thus he kept on putting athletes in tournaments all over the world.

As a dedicated sportsman, he has been helping the government churn out champions since 2011. His sports foundation, MVPSF, is geared towards the advancement of the developmental, junior and elite Filipino athletes, national teams and sports agencies like Philippine Sports Commission, the Philippine Olympic Committee and the National Sports Associations (NSAs).

As emphasized by the foundation’s First Vice President and Sports Head, Jude Michael H. Turcuato, MVPSF has been supporting Hidilyn Diaz way before she won the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal and even later than when she bagged the silver medal at the 2016 Games in Rio De Janeiro.

“We have always believed in the importance of sports in shaping individuals and communities for the better. With this, we want to congratulate Hidilyn in her recent success, and wish her all the best in her upcoming events. She is an inspiration to us all, ”said Mr. Pangilinan during a courtesy call of Ms. Diaz ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifiers.

Aside from Ms. Diaz, the foundation also boosted boxers Carlo Paalam, Eumir Marcial, Irish Magno, and Nesthy Petacio; golfers Juvic Pagunsan, Bianca Pagdanganan, and Yuka Saso; the gymnast Carlos Yulo; the rower Cris Nievarez; and, the skateboarder Margielyn Didal.

In response to COVID-19, last January, the MVPSF donated booster shots to SEA Games-bound Philippine team to Vietnam. The booster shots are also intended for the 19th Hangzhou Asian Games set on Sept. 10 to 25.

Currently, following the successful performance of the Philippine team in this year’s SEA Games in Vietnam, PLDT, Smart, and MVP Sports Foundation pledged their support on the move of the Philippine Olympic Committee to establish an incentive trust fund for national athletes who successfully win medals in the Olympics, Southeast Asian Games, and Asian Games.

While the national allocated budget for the sports sector remains small compared to other countries’, MVP, through his sports advocacies, remains at the forefront of providing the necessary support for the majority of the Filipino athletes who, like him, share the same passion for winning and improvement both in sports and in life. – Allyana A. Almonte

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