Apparel maker Rebel Sports taking over PHL market after making mark in the US

Posted on June 05, 2017

A SPORTS apparel who made its mark in the US is now beginning to make its presence felt in the local market.

Joel Cu, who spent several years working in the United States and has forged partnership with an American involved in the sports apparel business.
With its “Mission Takeover” slogan, Team Rebel Sports is now doing some noise, ready to compete with the local brands that are now more established and have forged partnerships in sports institutions like the PBA and mainstream collegiate leagues in the country.

Joel Cu, who spent several years working in the United States and has forged partnership with an American involved in the sports apparel business, has returned in the Philippines and ready to bring in high-quality but affordable lines catering on different sports.

“We have established our foothold in the US, that’s why we have uniforms for American football, baseball, hockey and of course, basketball. I was able to enter the US market. We were able to establish a partnership in the US thru our American partner. We’re the ones who initiated it. We also have our partners in Australia,” Mr. Cu told BusinessWorld in an interview.

From basketball, volleyball, American football, hockey, baseball and everything in between the line of customize uniforms, Team Rebel is ready to provide the sports-loving Filipinos.

But Mr. Cu won’t go along way without the struggles they’ve experienced in the past.

“Late ’90s when we started the business. Unfortunately, we are not that well-funded. We started in the garage. When I started, I was only 18. Then, our business faltered. I have one partner who helped me out, who eventually in the long run, asked to be bought out. Then, we entered the RTW business, having our brands sold in Toby’s,” added Mr. Cu.

In the early stages, when the sports line is still trying to make its mark, Mr. Cu, who heads the operation of the business, even tried out being associated with celebrities in the entertainment circuit.

“Before, we tried out outfitting Salbakuta. There was a strong impact with that,” added Mr. Cu. “But later on, you realized you want to go directly to your market, which is the sporting business. I have involvement with the PBA before, with Mr. Lina’s FedEx team and then Mapua in the NCAA. With the PBA, I was doing business with Mr. Lina until his company lost its partnership with FedEx. Then, we had a previous partnership with Alaska before.”

The common idea for people who loves branded outfit is that they’re willing to spend more to get the best quality.

Mr. Cu’s group wants to change that landscape.

“We can say that our sports apparel is of good quality, but affordable. We want to have our market overseas, so ideally, we need to sell the outfits as well on local soil. We have a vision of having our own in the Philippines, an international brand that is being sold in the Philippines and for an affordable price. There’s a point in time you’re going to be successful abroad and you will realize you want to go back to your home soil and hope to bring that success here. We’re committed to bring the most affordable customized uniform. High quality, but affordable and dependable. Ordinary people would think that when you hear the word, Titan, their first impression would be, they cannot afford it,” said Mr. Cu.

Slowly but surely, Team Rebel Sports is trying to attract the local market with its line of products.

They’ve identified several players who would serve as “ambassadors” of the group, among those who were tapped by Team Rebel Sports were Kyle Drexler Neypes (forward) and guard Rev Diputado of the National University, Wilson Baltazar of the Lyceum Pirates, an NCAA All-Star, Nzu Sseu of Lyceum, NCAA Season 92 Rookie of the Year, aspiring player Jonah Perlas and Matthew Aquino, center of NU Bulldogs.

Jeff Perlas, an assistant coach of Topex Robinson in Lyceum, was also selected by Team Rebel Sports along with selected players who both played in the UAAP and NCAA.

“If you noticed, Coach Jeff was included in the pictorial because we’re also coming up with line for coaches. That’s why he was part of the endorsement. Coaches will be included and not just players. We also have line for kids. We want to have a line for coaching staff, and then the players. That’s what we wanted,” said Mr. Cu. “For coaches, we want to equip them, from polo shirts, jogging pants, shorts, we will try to provide them.”

A member of the National University champion coaching staff that won the championship several years ago, Mr. Perlas is also now helping out Team Rebel Sports in penetrating the collegiate basketball circuit.

“We’re now tying up with different schools here in the Philippines, tapping us to become our official outfitter. Since, I’m into basketball, I’d like Team Rebel Sports to enter the circuit,” added Mr. Perlas.

According to Mr. Cu, he wants the ambassadors to be more actively involved in community service while also representing Team Rebel Sports to play against select teams. The concept is patterned with the And1 Street Basketball Selection and the Harlem Globetrotters, a touring team that not just play but also serve the community.

“That’s what we wanted. We’re planning to bring in young players plus imports,” said Mr. Cu. “we want to get players to be more recognized, probably potential PBA players and manage them in the future. That would be our future mission.” -- Rey Joble