THE SPORTING world has been forced to a halt by the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic but values learned from sports would go a long way in helping one cope up with the prevailing conditions under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

It is something local athletes firmly believed in and pushing others to take cue from during this time of crisis.

For Ateneo Blue Eagles standouts and Philippine Basketball Association rookies Matt and Mike Nieto, teamwork is a value that is key amid COVID-19; that is for everyone to come together and have their efforts done in the collective to carry one another.

The Nieto twins, also members of Smart-sponsored Gilas Pilipinas, showed their push on such front by organizing donation drives for the city of Cainta in Rizal, whose mayor is their uncle Kit Nieto.

The two said their Gilas family and PBA mother clubs helped in the drive, something they are very thankful for.

“Our Gilas Pilipinas family helped us, as well as our mother teams in the PBA — Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (Mike) and NLEX Road Warriors (Matt) — who gave relief goods for the people of Cainta,” Mike shared.

And being able to do so brought a lot of gratification on their part, seeing the joy in their chosen beneficiaries.

“We saw the faces of the people when they received the donation — they were thankful. Some even cried,” Matt shared. Adding, “All the hard work really paid off after seeing their reaction.”

The brothers ended their University Athletic Association of the Philippines journey by helping Ateneo to a third straight league title last year.

Discipline is also another sports value that the Nietos are high on, in particular heeding the call to stay at home to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, which, as of this writing, has 6,710 confirmed cases in the country.

“Stay disciplined. We already know that we can’t go out of our homes so that we can prevent the spread of the virus. Let’s be disciplined, and let’s encourage others to stay home as well,” Mike said.

Discipline is being pushed by members of esports team PLDT-Smart Omega as well, highlighting that doing so we are ensuring the safety and wellbeing not only of ourselves but also those around us.

“Hadjizy” Salic Imam and “Haze” Jniel Bata-Anon assured that they are safe and healthy inside their camp since the ECQ was declared in March.

Then there is staying healthy.

While the ECQ has rendered outside movement limited, it should not stop one from being active and working to continue to be healthy even inside one’s home.

“Of course, we need to eat healthy food like vegetables and fruits, so that we can boost our immunity. If we can take vitamins daily, and work out [the better],” said volleyball hitter Maria Shola Alvarez, who plays for the PLDT Fibr Hitters in the Philippine SuperLiga.

To help others on this end, the Nieto twins have tapped on Instagram, engaging their followers on the need to stay healthy and how to protect them from COVID-19.

“You can follow us on Instagram. We uploaded exercise tips so that people can stay healthy despite the lockdown… It’s important that we don’t infect other people, and always wear your face masks,” Matt said.

“Even if we’re inside our houses, we can do a lot to help our fellow Filipinos, especially those in need. We will do all these for the country,” Mike, for his part, said. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo