Aside from being one of the country’s top businessmen, Manny V. Pangilinan is known as an avid sportsman who has generously supported Filipino athletes in their championship journeys. He was instrumental in boosting the country’s sporting programs in almost all fronts most especially of the all-time favorite pastime of the Filipinos, basketball. His worth in the Philippine sports scene is undeniable, and his initials spell it all.
Mr. Pangilinan used to serve as the first president of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP), the national sports association for basketball in the country, for two consecutive terms from 2007 to 2016. He was succeeded by Alfredo S. Panlilio, who served as the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) team governor of the Meralco Bolts. At present, Mr. Pangilinan is the chairman emeritus of the national organization.
Under his watch in SBP as its president, the Philippines took the right to host the 2013 FIBA Asia Championships, the intercontinental championship for basketball organized by FIBA Asia that served as the qualifying tournament for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.
The country’s Gilas Pilipinas finished with a silver medal in the tourney and was able to qualify for the World Cup. It was the first time that the country was able to return to the world stage after almost four decades.
The country’s successful bid to host the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, a prestigious event that will gather the world’s top 32 basketball-playing nations, together with Japan and Indonesia, was also led by Mr. Pangilinan.
The decision was made by FIBA’s Central Board after the bidders gave final presentations to support their candidatures to host the basketball’s biggest world tournament. It will be the first time in the competition’s history that it is to be staged in more than one country.
“We are extremely happy that FIBA has decided to award the hosting right for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 to Philippines/Japan/Indonesia. The World Cup is an event that fans of basketball in these three countries are very proud of and hosting it will allow to spread the basketball fever across the three countries and the region,” Mr. Pangilinan, who headed the Philippines/Japan/Indonesia candidature, was quoted as saying in a statement.
The FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 will see the group phase to take place in the three nations, with the final phase to follow in the Philippine capital city of Manila. The last time the country hosted the competition was in 1978.
To centralize the sports initiatives of the MVP Group of Companies, a nonstock, nonprofit organization named after Mr. Pangilinan, the MVP Sports Foundation, Inc. (MVPSF), was incorporated in 2011 and registered with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission. The MVPSF is a privately-funded sports development foundation focused on helping its chosen sports, namely badminton, basketball, boxing, cycling, football, golf, taekwondo, rugby, and weightlifting.
It was also established to support sports programs through funding and, more importantly, give its feedback and technical advice to help and improve current sports practices used in the programs it supports. In particular, the MVPSF programs are geared towards the advancement of the elite athletes and national teams, developmental athletes/junior national teams, talent identification platforms, and grassroots programs.
The organization is guided by its vision of inspiring, and empowering the Filipino athletes toward the first Philippine Olympic Gold Medal while creating a culture of hard work and perseverance for the Filipino people.
It seeks to be the driving force in the development of world-class Filipino sports champions as well as the leading proponent of a culture of winning through sports using the grassroots programs established in its chosen sports.
“Sports, to me, is more than just playing games. It is also a powerful catalyst for change. It motivates each one of us to become a better person. It gives us the courage to surmount challenges and can even offer escape from poverty and the answer to our desire to lead better lives,” Mr. Pangilinan, who currently serves as the chairman and trustee of the MVPSF, once said.
Most recently, the MVPSF donated P500,000 worth of boxing equipment and another P500,000 in financial assistance to the Cagayan de Oro Boxing Team, an amateur boxing team who has been producing the country’s young boxing talents in the past years. There are at least 60 young boxers in the fold who will benefit from the said donation. Moreover, the MVPSF also vowed to continue its support to Filipino athletes preparing for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. — Mark Louis F. Ferrolino